Electric scooter sales cross 70,000 units in October

Ola S1 Air price, Bajaj Chetak EV sales numbers.

October and November 2023 are set to be record months for both the EV as well as ICE two-wheeler market in India. With the 42 day festive period beginning from October 15 and continuing through to 15 days after Dhanteras, the ICE and EV segments are benefitting hugely from the increased consumer spend on new vehicle purchases. As per retail sales data on the government’s Vahan portal at 5am on November 1, a total of 71,604 electric two-wheelers were sold in October 2023.

This makes October 2023 the month with the third highest sales after May 2023 (1,05,521 units) and March 2023 (86,339 units). While March numbers reflect the typical fiscal-year end high, the record retails in May were a result of buyers rushing to buy electric two-wheelers before the slashed-by-25 percent FAME subsidy kicked in from June 1, 2023.

Overall sales in October 2023 would have been higher, considering that the shraddh period (September 29-October 14), when a large number of people in India prefer to delay new purchases, was in the first fortnight of the month. Nevertheless, demand has turned out to be very strong in the second half of last month.

Consequently, October 2023 retails, which had a tepid first fortnight, saw YoY sales down 7 percent (October 2022: 77,267 units) albeit the second fortnight saw accelerated demand. This also means that demand has gone beyond the monthly sales achieved before the FAME subsidy was slashed by 25 percent in June 2023 and reflects the gradual maturing of the market as consumers are now buying EVs at higher prices.

As many as 2,98,935 EVs have been sold since June 2023 at higher prices, followed the reduced FAME subsidy. It may be recollected that e-two-wheeler sales had crashed to an 11-month low of 46,064 units in June 2023 after the FAME subsidy was slashed to a fourth of its original amount.

Cumulative sales for the first nine months of CY2023, at 6,88,442 units are 41 percent better than January-October 2022’s 4,89,726 units. This also means that this year’s sales have surpassed CY2022's retail sales of 6,31,174 units, with two months left for the calendar year to come to a close. With the festive season continuing with Diwali and Dhanteras (in November), it can be surmised that the Indian electric two-wheeler industry could close CY2023 with total sales in the region of 7.5 lakh – 8 lakh units, which translates into 18 percent to 25 percent YoY growth.   

A deep dive into the VAHAN retail sales data reveals that of the 165 OEMs in India’s very competitive e-two-wheeler market, the top 9 EV makers have each sold more than 1,000 units each and cumulatively sold 64,478 units, accounting for 90 percent of total October sales. The top two EV OEMs – Ola Electric and TVS Motor Co – are the only ones with retails in five figures.

As accurately forecast last month, market leader Ola Electric sold over 20,000 units in October – the 22,565 units sees it grow its already-commanding share to 31 percent and makes for strong 21 percent month-on-month (MoM) growth. What’s more, the company has surpassed the 200,000 sales milestone in the first 10 months of 2023. Expect Ola Electric, which recently launched its refreshed S1 series of e-scooters and has already garnered over 75,000 bookings, to maintain the strong momentum in the months ahead.  

TVS Motor Co, with 15,729 units, saw flat sales – with just 0.93 percent MoM growth (September 2023: 15,584 units), which gives it a market share of 22 percent, three percentage points more than the 19 percent share it had in July. In September, the iQube rode past the cumulative 2 lakh sales milestone in 45 months since launch in January 2020.  In August, the company launched its premium EV flagship, the TVS X, priced at Rs 2.5 lakh, at a mega event in Dubai. 

Interestingly, Bajaj Auto, which has sizeably ramped up production of the Chetak scooter and is also expanding its network, sold 8,519 Chetaks in October, up 20 percent on September’s 7,097 units. This is Bajaj Auto’s second-best monthly performance after the best-yet 9,983 units in May 2023 and takes it ahead of Ather Energy, albeit the latter remains the strong No. 3 with cumulative 10-month sales of over 88,390 units versus Bajaj’s 49,077 units.

Ather Energy saw retail sales of 8,113 units, which constituted 13.45 percent MoM growth compared to September’s 7,151 units. Ather Energy is among the EV OEMs making moves to enable easy finance to potential buyers. 

In fifth position is Greaves Electric Mobility which has delivered its best monthly performance – 4,050 units – in October, and 12 percent better MoM growth. Greaves’ sister EV arm, Ampere Vehicles is ranked 15th with October sales of 352 units. Combined sales of the two EV divisions would add up to 4,402 units, which still puts in fifth position.

Meanwhile, a hard-charging Hero MotoCorp with its Vida V1 e-scooter has gone on to take sixth rank. With a total of 1,899 units sold in October, Hero MotoCorp registered 255 percent MoM growth on a low September 2023 base of 532 units. The strong performance is likely due to aggressive marketing on Hero’s part.

Growth outlook

While the sales momentum for the electric two-wheeler industry was solid in October, expect November 2023 to be far better what with Diwali and Dhanteras coming up in the first fortnight itself.

Static and high petrol prices across the country are seeing a growing number of personal two-wheeler users take the decision to transition to electric mobility which proves more wallet-friendly in the long run. 

Meanwhile, the sustained demand for last-mile deliveries across urban India as well as town and country is acting as a sales catalyst for cargo-transporting electric two-wheelers and a number of EV manufacturers are benefiting from bulk orders. India's improving economy, a marked uptick in consumer sentiment along with OEMs offering sweetened new product deals in the festive season to capture the growing consumer shift to EVs should see India EV Inc maintain a solid growth path in the months to come.

Meanwhile, overall EV sales across segments have crossed the 1.2 million mark in the first 10 months of this year, which calls for an altogether different analysis. Stay plugged in. 

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