India’s biggest electric-scooter maker Hero Electric Vehicles has called for the country to end sales of petrol-powered two wheelers by 2027 in order to speed up a switch to clean vehicles.
“2027 would be a good time for new sales to be 100% electric,” Naveen Munjal, managing director of Hero Electric Vehicles Pvt., said in an interview to Business Standard.
“If we leave it to market forces then things come along at their own pace and the transition will be much slower than what it could be.”
India’s shift to electric vehicles has been hampered by high prices and a lack of charging infrastructure. Whereas China accounts for 97% of the world’s e-scooter fleet, they make up less than 1% of total sales in India, according to BloombergNEF.
Replacing gasoline two-wheelers is key to tackling some of the world’s most toxic air because they are more polluting than cars, yet comprise 75% of the 296 million vehicles on the nation’s roads as of 2019.
A stricter mandate for electrification will force local automakers to make the switch faster.
Hero MotoCorp Ltd., the world’s largest maker of motorcycles, will launch its first e-scooter by March 2022.
“Once the goals are in place, companies will start planning backwards in terms of supply chain, re-skilling, infrastructure requirements and financial implications,” Munjal said. “The whole ecosystem begins to fall in place once you know what goals are.”
Founded in 2007, Hero Electric is competing with startup Ola Electric Mobility Pvt. and Hero MotoCorp, a separate company whose chairman is Munjal’s uncle.
Ola Electric, backed by SoftBank Group Corp. and Tiger Global LP, is building the world’s largest two-wheeler factory, and last week sold about 6 billion rupees’ ($82 million) of e-scooters on the first day orders opened.