Two-wheeler makers slam Niti Aayog's move to fast-track electric mobility

The country’s major two-wheeler makers, Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto and TVS Motors have come out strongly against government think tank Niti Aayog's proposal for a shift to all-electric two-wheelers by 2025, saying the move will kill the industry.

Niti Aayog, last week, asked auto industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers along with conventional two and three-wheeler makers to suggest within two weeks, concrete steps towards a transition to electric mobility by 2025.
Niti Aayog wants all three-wheelers by 2023 and all two-wheelers below 150cc by 2025, to be electrically powered. These recommendations were made at a meeting Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar and CEO Amitabh Kant had with members of the two/three wheeler industry like Bajaj Auto MD Rajiv Bajaj, TVS Motor chairman Venu Srinivasan, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) president and CEO Minoru Kato along with SIAM director-general Vishnu Mathur, and Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) director general Vinnie Mehta.
The industry leaders argued that a wholesale shift from conventional two-wheelers to 100 per cent electric in too short a period as five years is difficult as the industry, based on the internal combustion engine supports an entire range – from parts makers to original equipment makers and from service providers to small workshops - besides the fuel retailers.
And for the consumer, there is no supporting infrastructure. The government must address the concerns of all stakeholders instead of imposing the adoption of EVs, they say.
"This is not like Aadhaar, not software and print cards. You have to set up a whole supply chain, and migrate from the current supply chain," PTI quoted TVS Motor co-chairman and managing director Venu Srinivasan as saying.
"With 20 million vehicles, $15 billion in sales, one million employees", Srinivasan said, adding that "the whole thing is not thought through. I hope saner thoughts will prevail and people will think through the real implications of all this".
Bajaj Auto managing director Rajiv Bajaj also said: "we believe 100 per cent transition is completely uncalled for".
Earlier, he had also asserted that the move to super impose the EV puzzle on a date too close to the deadline for shifting to BS VI norms was impractical and ill-timed. Also, "to target two and three wheelers but not cars etc makes it an incomplete initiative," he added.
Expressing similar sentiments, Bajaj Auto said it was "deeply concerned by the potential repercussions of Niti Aayog's approach of completely banning two-wheelers up to 150cc that are powered by internal combustion engines (ICE)".
Hero MotoCorp said the move by Niti Aayog comes at a time "when two-wheelers manufactured in India will have the world's cleanest emissions, along with the world's highest fuel-efficiencies, effective 1 April 2020".
"Instead of imposing the adoption of EVs, it would be ideal to have a healthy mix of policy, market dynamics, and customer acceptability," the country's largest two-wheeler maker said.
Hero MotoCorp also said mandating a new technology by banning the existing one is likely to jeopardise the industry.
Appealing to the government and relevant authorities "to be cautious in their approach and take into consideration the concerns of all the stakeholders", Hero MotoCorp said. "A phase-wise introduction will not only allow for a smooth transition but also enable all involved parties to understand, accept and if required, make course-corrections in their approach towards EVs".