The smartphone industry has been booming in India thanks to the cheap availability of data and local sourcing. This has hugely increased the country’s content consumption and even mobile payments have been on the rise. The population is slowly getting accustomed to technology and that’s definitely a sign of progress.
Though, electric vehicles are yet to make a mark. The country has 150 million drivers, but only 8,000 electric vehicles have been sold in the last six years. For comparison, India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki sold more than 400,000 vehicles in Q1 of FY2020. And, this is amid a slowdown that has already reduced sales by almost 18 percent.
According to a Bloomberg report, more than 8,000 cars are sold in China within two days. Hyundai launched the Kona early this year and has managed to sell just 130 units. This proves that government initiatives to kickstart the industry haven’t paid off and there’s more than one thing going wrong at the moment.
The government has asked many sub-departments and public-sector units to adopt electric vehicles in their day-to-day operations, but even these attempts haven’t actually fructified.
India faces a plethora of challenges and the primary one right now is an economic slowdown. Banks have high exposure to non-performing assets, state-owned banks need a bailout, and non-banking lenders are defaulting on payments.
An average Indian barely earns US$ 1,600 every year. A conventional gas-run car starts at US$ 4,000, while a basic electric car costs more than US$ 10,000. In fact, the Hyundai Kona is priced at a whopping US$ 35,000.
Other factors include lack of infrastructure, premature technology, and lack of sweeteners from the government. Though, Maruti Suzuki is expected to unveil an offering in 2020, followed by improvements on existing models by Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra. Companies like Nissan are also exploring affordable options and the government is focused on pushing state-transport operators to go electric.