Government of India, India, World

Data: Despite the sale of 3 lakh Electric Vehicles in 2021, their share is still negligible


After a fall in 2020 on account of the pandemic, the sale of electric vehicles increased significantly in 2021 when more than 3 lakh electric vehicles were sold. Close to 95% of the electric vehicles sold in 2021 were 2-wheelers & 3-wheelers. Despite the seemingly impressive numbers, the share of the electric vehicle sales in the total motor vehicle sales is still negligible.

Globally, there has been a push for shift from Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles to electric vehicles following concerns over climate change, increase in energy costs, pollution, and depletion of fossil fuels. According to a recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), a Paris-based intergovernmental organization, about 1.3 lakh electric cars were sold every week in 2021. This number is the same as the total number of electric cars sold throughout the year in 2012. As per IEA, over 2.2 million electric cars were sold in 2019 accounting for 2.5% of the global car sales. In 2020, though the overall sales of cars had contracted, electric car sales rose to 3 million accounting for 4.1% of total car sales which doubled in 2021 to 6.6 million accounting for 9% of the total global car sales. In the last three years, the market share of electric cars has more than tripled globally. 

Governments have rolled out incentives to boost shift to Electric Vehicles

In India, the government came up with the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020 in the year 2012 which aimed at boosting electric vehicle manufacturing in the country and faster adoption of electric vehicles. As part of the plan, the government is implementing the FAME India Scheme since 2015 in a phased manner. Under the scheme, the focus has been on providing demand incentives, charging infrastructure development, and demand creation, among others. Electric vehicle policies are at different stages of proposal/implementation across most states. Recently, the Odisha government announced a subsidy of 15% up to Rs. 5,000, Rs.12,000 and Rs.1 lakh for two, three, and four-wheeler electric vehicles. According to reports, the Delhi Government has launched registration for centres which will undertake electric retrofitting of old diesel and petrol vehicles and convert them into electric cars. 

VAHAN dashboard provides data on the registration of motor vehicles

The VAHAN dashboard provides data on the registration of motor vehicles from across the country including electric vehicles. Maintained by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH), the VAHAN dashboard is a centralized database of registration of vehicles from 33 out of 37 states/UTs which are enrolled in VAHAN 4.0. The figures from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Lakshadweep, and Madhya Pradesh are not included here. The figures pertain to 1386 RTOs of the total 1597 RTOs in the country. 

Significant increase in registration of electric vehicles in 2021

As per the data on the dashboard, the registration of electric vehicles has increased considerably since 2013. Only about 5,500 electric vehicles were registered in the country in 2013 and 2014 put together which increased to more than 9,000 in 2015. It was in 2015 that the first phase of the FAME Scheme was launched. The number of registrations crossed 50,000 marking an increase by 5.7 times, in 2016. Since then, there was a gradual growth in electric vehicle registrations until 2019. During this period, the registrations more than tripled. 

Under Phase-I of the FAME India Scheme, over 2.8 lakh electric and hybrid vehicles were supported. Under phase-II which commenced in 2019, over 2.31 lakh Electric Vehicles have been supported till February 2022, according to the Ministry of Heavy Industries

In 2020, the pandemic’s impact on the economy and its effect on vehicle production and sales meant that the electric vehicle registrations also came down. The number of electric vehicles registered in 2020 dropped to 1.19 lakh, the lowest since 2018. However, in 2021, a record 3.11 lakh electric vehicles were registered, more than the total number of electric vehicles registered between 2012 and 2018.

As on 10 February 2022, in only about 40 days into 2022, close to 66,000 electric vehicles have been registered. If the trend continues throughout the year, 2022 might well see over 5 lakh electric vehicle registrations if not more. 

Despite an increase, electric vehicles constitute only 1.9% of total vehicles registered in 2021

The number of electric vehicles registered has increased manifold over the years. However, as a share of the total number of vehicles registered including ICE and Hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles account for only 0.35% of the total number with less than 10 lakhs registered so far. For context, the VAHAN data reveals that as on 10 February 2022, nearly 28.28 crore vehicles have been registered in the country. 

As a share of all vehicles registered in each year, electric vehicles constituted less than 1% until 2020. In 2021, for the first time, the share of electric vehicles crossed 1% constituting about 1.85% of all vehicles registered in 2021. In 2022, electric vehicles constituted 3.44% of all vehicles registered till 10 February 2022. 

Moreover, the overall vehicle registration in the country dropped from 2.27 crores in 2018 to 1.63 crores in 2020 and increased slowly to 1.68 crores in 2021. In other words, the overall vehicle registration dropped by 26% between 2018 and 2021. During this same period, the registration of electric vehicles increased from 1.32 lakhs to 3.1 lakhs, about a 2.35 times increase.

Two-wheeler and three-wheeler- electric vehicles accounted for more than 95% of the electric vehicles registered each year while the same two categories accounted for more than 75% of the total vehicles registered each year between 2017 and 2021. The categorization used here is the following. 

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Electric two-wheeler registrations increased significantly in 2021

The registration of four-wheeler electric vehicles has been increasing slowly from less than 1000 every year until 2016 to 13,352 in 2021. Registration of electric three-wheelers witnessed a steep growth and increased 23 times between 2015 and 2021. On the other hand, the registration of electric two-wheelers witnessed a sudden sharp increase by over 5 times in 2021. The registration of electric goods and other vehicles has been low throughout. 

As a share of overall vehicles registered in each of these categories, electric three-wheelers which constituted less than 17% of the total three-wheelers registered in 2017, constituted more than 42% of the three-wheelers registered in 2021. Likewise, the share of electric two-wheelers has also increased from a near negligible number in 2017 to 1.2% in 2021. The share of electric four-wheelers and goods and other electric vehicles was below 0.5% in 2021.

UP and Delhi account for more than 40% of electric vehicles registered since 2017

Of the total 8.78 lakh, electric vehicles registered between 1 January 2017 and 10 February 2022, 29.6% (2.6 lakh) were registered in Uttar Pradesh alone. More than 1 lakh vehicles were registered in Delhi, accounting for 12%. Ten states including UP, Delhi, Karnataka, Bihar, Maharashtra, Assam, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Haryana had registered more than 25,000 electric vehicles each and accounted for more than 87% of the electric vehicles registered in the period.  

The trend across the states of UP, Delhi, Maharashtra, Assam, Rajasthan, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand is similar to that observed at the national level while in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, there has been a continuous increase in electric vehicle registration despite the pandemic. 

Except in West Bengal, the registrations increased between 2 to 9 times across all major states in 2021. Gujarat witnessed an 8.7 times increase in 2021, while Kerala and Odisha registered a 6 times increase. This varying trend across states is influenced by the respective state’s electric vehicle policy. Gujarat government announced a subsidy of up to Rs. 1.5 lakh, Rs.5 lakhs, and Rs.15 lakhs for two, three, and four-wheelers respectively in 2021, based on battery capacity. Tamil Nadu offers 100% road tax exemption till 30 December 2022 in addition to waiver on registration charges while the Delhi government offers a purchase incentive of up to Rs. 30,000/- per vehicle to the registered owner. 

However, it must be noted that data for Telangana, Andhra Pradesh & Madhya Pradesh is not available to comment on the trends in those states. 

Hero Vehicles is the most preferred brand

The buzz around electric vehicles increased in 2021 with Ola Electric opening bookings for its electric scooters in September 2021 with an initial booking fee of Rs. 499. The company announced in September 2021 that they sold scooters worth over Rs. 600 crores on the first day of the sale, and crossed Rs.1,100 crores on the second day. While the company claimed that it had dispatched over 4,000 vehicles, the data in the Road Transport Ministry’s VAHAN Dashboard revealed that only 2,272 were registered so far in 33 of the 37 states/UTs. 

Among other renowned vehicle manufacturers, more than 82,000 electric vehicles registered were manufactured by Hero Electric Vehicles Pvt Ltd as on 10 February 2022. More than 62,000 electric vehicles were manufactured by Okinawa Autotech Pvt Ltd and more than 59,000 vehicles of YC Electric Vehicles have been registered. More than 25,000 vehicles were made by Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, and 24,400 vehicles of Ather Energy Pvt. Ltd has been registered. Bajaj Auto Ltd.’s vehicles constituted nearly 21,000 registrations while Tata Motors Pvt Ltd.’s vehicles constituted more than 15,000 and TVS Motor Company constituted more than 13,000 electric vehicle registrations. 

Despite considerable growth, the shift to electric is still a long way away

While the growth in numbers is encouraging, the share of electric vehicles is still only around 2% of two-wheeler sales meaning that it is going to take a long time before the shift to electric vehicles takes place. While financial incentives are necessary to spur demand, it is not alone sufficient to rapidly increase the adoption of electric vehicles. Issues around batteries remain the single biggest challenge with other challenges such as availability of raw materials, electricity tariff policies, accessibility/availability of fast-charging stations, etc. Until all these are addressed together, the electric vehicle sales might still be paltry compared to the overall sales. 

Featured Image: Electric Vehicle Sales


About Author

A bachelor’s degree in mathematics and master’s in social science, she is driven by ardent desire to work with this unique combination to create her own path instead of following the herd. Having served a stint as the college union chairperson, she is a strategist who is also passionate about nature conservation, art and loves solving Sudoku.

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