Hero, Bajaj, TVS Object NITI Aayog’s Pitch For All Electric Two-Wheelers
Niti Aayog wants two-wheelers under 150cc to go all-electric by 2025, a push vehemently opposed by Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor. (Photographer: Pankaj Nangia/Bloomberg News)

Hero, Bajaj, TVS Object NITI Aayog’s Pitch For All Electric Two-Wheelers

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Hero MotoCorp Ltd., Bajaj Auto Ltd. and TVS Motor Co. Ltd. have hit out at Niti Aayog’s plan to push for 100 percent electric two-wheelers, saying such a transition is completely uncalled for and could jeopardise the industry.

The companies said concerns of all stakeholders must be taken into consideration instead of imposing adoption of electric vehicles.

“This (transition to electric two-wheelers) is not like Aadhaar, not a software and print cards. You have to set up a whole supply chain, and migrate from the current supply chain,” said Venu Srinivasan, chairman and managing director of TVS Motor.

Expressing similar sentiments, Hero MotoCorp 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".

Niti Aayog had last week asked Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, along with conventional two-and three-wheeler makers, to suggest within two weeks concrete steps towards transition to an all-electric portfolio, keeping in mind the 2025 deadline.

Hero 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 April 1, 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.

Weighing in, Bajaj Auto’s Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj said “we believe 100 percent transition is completely uncalled for”.

He had earlier asserted that the move was impractical and ill-timed, considering the scale involved when stakeholders do not have “any meaningful experience with any of the pieces of the EV puzzle”, and that too a date so close to implementation of Bharat Stage VI emission norms. “To target two- and three-wheelers but not cars etc. makes it an incomplete initiative,” he had said.

Asserting that a “black or white, zero-one change” is not possible “with 20 million vehicles, $15 billion in sales, one million employees”, TVS’ Srinivasan added 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”.

Hero MotoCorp also said mandating a new technology by banning the existing one is likely to jeopardise the two-wheeler industry.

Considering the significance of the automotive industry that provides employment to millions and is a significant contributor to the country’s gross domestic product, the proposed ban could also have massive consequences on the Indian economy, the company added.

“An abrupt and sudden changeover will disrupt the entire ecosystem of vendors, OEMs, dealers, spare parts manufacturers, and mechanics, as well as other stakeholders, thereby impacting the livelihoods of millions of people dependent on the industry,” 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.”

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