The Indian EV industry adapts products and prices for sustained competitiveness
Leading electric two-wheeler manufacturers in India are making strategic adjustments to their product offerings as subsidies for electric vehicles (EVs) are being reduced. They plan to launch lower-spec variants with fewer features and smaller batteries in response to the upcoming increase in EV prices. The EV industry is striving to adapt products and prices to maintain competitiveness amidst uncertainty surrounding the continuation of the FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) scheme. While the government deliberates on the future of subsidies, industry experts emphasize the importance of continued policy support to drive EV penetration from the current 5% to over 60% for electric two and three-wheelers over the next decade.
Recent decisions by the government include reducing the FAME II subsidy on electric two-wheelers from Rs 15,000 per KWh to Rs 10,000 per KWh, along with lowering the maximum subsidy cap from 40% to 15%. These changes have resulted in declining sales of electric two-wheelers since April, following a peak in March with 85,793 units sold. As of now, the sales figures for electric two-wheelers in May stand at 39,000 units, while electric three-wheelers reach 23,527 units, according to data from the Vahan portal.
Manufacturers are adapting their strategies accordingly. With the subsidy reduction, many are expected to introduce lower-capacity batteries ranging from 1.5-2 kWh, compared to the previous trend of larger batteries around 2.5-3 kWh. Industry leaders argue for the extension of the FAME II scheme beyond March 2024 to realize accelerated EV penetration goals. However, some experts believe that further subsidization may not be necessary, given the already subsidized sales of over a million EVs. They suggest tapering down subsidies for electric two-wheelers and expanding incentives to include other categories like quadricycles, e-cycles, commercial vehicles, and private buses. Additionally, building a robust EV ecosystem is seen as crucial for the industry’s growth.
The Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme in the automobile and battery cell sectors is expected to attract enhanced investments over the next 3-4 years. However, it may take time to fully realize the impact of FAME II and for higher levels of EV penetration, reaching 20-25% compared to internal combustion engine vehicles. Dealers express concerns about confusion regarding applicable subsidies, which could temporarily impact sales until pricing adjustments are made.
Overall, the EV industry in India is undergoing adjustments to product offerings and pricing strategies in response to subsidy changes. Continued policy support, along with the PLI scheme and the development of a robust EV ecosystem, will play vital roles in driving the adoption of electric vehicles and reducing upfront costs for customers, making EVs more competitive with traditional internal combustion engine vehicles.
Royal Enfield seeks to introduce electric bikes with unparalleled distinctiveness
Motorcycle manufacturer Royal Enfield is making significant investments in the development of unique electric motorcycles in India. CEO B Govindarajan announced that the company is actively working on product development and creating a supplier ecosystem around its Chennai-based plant. With a capital expenditure of INR 1,000 crore in the current fiscal year, Royal Enfield aims to strengthen its EV manufacturing capabilities and enhance product development.
Govindarajan highlighted the company’s commitment to creating electric motorcycles that maintain the distinctive Royal Enfield DNA. The company has assembled a capable team and is heavily investing in product testing, development, and strategy. They have also outlined a long-term roadmap for EVs and are currently focused on building a robust supplier ecosystem.
Royal Enfield is currently engaged in prototype testing and development, demonstrating their dedication to the electric vehicle segment. In addition, the company made a strategic investment in Stark Future, a Spanish electric motorcycle maker, to foster collaboration and leverage each other’s strengths.
Eicher Motors CEO Siddhartha Lal shared that the company has allocated INR 1,000 crore for capital expenditure in FY23-24, specifically directed towards EV manufacturing, EV product development, and the development of their internal combustion engine portfolio.
Regarding the domestic market, Govindarajan mentioned that Royal Enfield currently operates approximately 2,100 retail outlets across India, which include a mix of studio stores and dealership outlets. The company’s focus is on proliferating strategically while considering the profitability of their dealers, ensuring the sustainability of each outlet.
With these investments and focused efforts, Royal Enfield is positioning itself to emerge as a major player in the electric motorcycle market in India, staying true to its brand identity while embracing the opportunities presented by electric mobility.
Tata Altroz iCNG launched at ₹7.55 lakh: Features and specs revealed
Tata Motors has introduced the CNG variant of its premium hatchback, the Altroz, with prices starting at ₹7.55 lakh (ex-showroom). This marks the third CNG offering in the personal segment by the manufacturer, following the CNG versions of the Tiago and Tigor models. A voice-assisted motorised sunroof, wireless charging, and an air purifier are included as standard equipment with the Altroz iCNG.
The Altroz iCNG is available in six variants: XE, XM+, XM+(S), XZ, XZ+(S), and XZ+O(S). Opera Blue, Downtown Red, Arcade Grey, and Avenue White are the available colour choices. Tata Motors provides a standard warranty of three years or 1,00,000 km, whichever comes first.
Powering the Altroz iCNG is a 1.2-litre Revotron Engine, delivering 73.5 PS of power at 6000 rpm and 103 Nm of torque at 3500 rpm. The twin cylinders of the model are placed under the luggage area in a way that maintains the boot space comparable to its internal combustion engine counterparts. Notably, it features an advanced Single ECU, a first-in-industry innovation, and offers a Direct Start in CNG mode.
The CNG hatchback boasts several notable features, including projector headlamps, LED DRLs, R16 diamond-cut alloy wheels, and an eight-speaker touchscreen infotainment system by Harman with Android Auto and Apple Carplay connectivity. Optional features include premium leatherette seats, fully automatic climate control, rear AC vents, and a height-adjustable driver seat.
The Tata Altroz iCNG prioritizes safety with the ALFA (Agile, Light, Flexible, and Advanced) Architecture platform, which has earned a five-star rating in the Global NCAP crash test. Additionally, safety is enhanced with a micro-switch that automatically turns off the car during refueling.
The launch of the Altroz iCNG expands Tata Motors’ portfolio of eco-friendly options, catering to customers’ needs for sustainable mobility while providing a range of features and safety measures.
Save the date: Maruti Suzuki Jimny set to launch on June 7th
Maruti Suzuki is set to announce the prices for the highly anticipated Jimny SUV in India on June 7, according to insider sources. The 5-door Jimny will mark its first market launch in India and will also be exported from the country. Positioned in the lifestyle off-roader segment alongside vehicles like the Mahindra Thar and Force Gurkha, the Jimny has already garnered significant attention with nearly 30,000 bookings since its debut at the Auto Expo earlier this year.
The Jimny will be offered in two well-equipped trims: Zeta and Alpha. The top-spec Alpha variant, which has seen higher demand, will be given production priority. Popular color choices for the Jimny include Bluish Black, Kinetic Yellow, and Pearl Arctic White.
The Alpha trim boasts features such as auto LED headlamps, a 9-inch touchscreen, SmartPlay Pro+ infotainment system, Cruise control, and an Arkamys sound system. It also has six airbags, ESP with hill-hold assist, hill-descent control, a rearview camera, and ABS with EBD as safety features.
The manual variants of the Jimny are expected to have a waiting period of up to six months after launch, while the automatic variants may have a waiting period of up to eight months.
The 1.5-liter K15B petrol engine under the hood of the Jimny produces 105 horsepower and 134.2 Nm of torque. Buyers can choose between a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed torque converter automatic transmission. For the manual model, Maruti claims a fuel economy of 16.94 kpl, and for the automatic variant, 16.39 kpl.
Featuring a ladder-frame chassis, the Jimny is equipped with Suzuki’s AllGrip Pro 4WD system, which includes a manual transfer case and a low-range gearbox with modes for ‘2WD-high,’ ‘4WD-high,’ and ‘4WD-low.’
The expected price range for the Maruti Suzuki Jimny is between Rs 10 lakh and 12 lakh (ex-showroom). While there are no direct rivals at its launch, the Jimny will compete with vehicles like the Mahindra Thar and Force Gurkha in terms of positioning and off-road capability.