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Soaring fuel prices, climate crisis pushing two-wheeler users to go electric, but there are challenges

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As high prices of fuel hasten the adoption of EVs in the two-wheeler segment in India, policy-related challenges galore.

Soaring fuel prices, climate crisis pushing two-wheeler users to go electric, but there are challenges
Petrol prices are on the wrong side of Rs 100 per litre in major cities across India. With fuel prices at record levels, many Indians have begun to consider ditching their conventional fuel two-wheelers for electric alternatives.
India’s most efficient two-wheelers offer a mileage of just under 65 km per litre on average. At the same time, electric offerings stand to give a mileage which is around five times better.
Scooters and bikes account for 80 percent of vehicle sales in the country, with 15 million units sold in FY21. Two-wheelers also consume over 70 percent of the local fuel demand.
However, the penetration of electric scooters in the two-wheelers segment is abysmally low in comparison; less than 1 percent. But as India commits to net-zero emissions by 2070 and fuel prices continue to increase, two-wheelers may come to command over 74 percent of the EV market by the year 2040, predicts BloombergNEF.
 
 
Experts expect the penetration of e-scooters to rise from 1 percent to 10 percent in five years and that of electric four-wheelers to increase eightfold within the same time span.
But lack of concrete policy plans and wildly varying estimates have been hampering efforts at increasing adoption of EVs at a quicker pace. One of the major challenges facing widespread EV adoption has been the lack of battery and recharging infrastructure in India. India lacks a clear policy framework regarding several key issues of the EV segment, including of EV battery disposal, and potential fire hazards, among others.
 
 
 
The other major issue is the relatively high cost of electric two-wheelers, which hover around the top end of the segment, despite the numerous subsidies and incentives provided by the government.
 
 
But despite these hurdles, experts and market leaders say it is only a question of time before EV adoption in the segment witnesses an increase.
 
“Well, it is not a question of will it or won't it happen, it is a question of when will it happen. So, in two-wheelers, it is going to happen every soon. So also commercial vehicles, which makes business sense. In cars, it will take time, while buses -- that's on the government agenda. So, you will find electric mobility taking over IC engines to a greater extent at different points in time,” Sohinder Gill, CEO of Hero Electric, told CNBC-TV18.
 
 
The popularity of Hero Electric’s offerings along with newcomer Ola Electric’s S Series electric scooters underscores the huge latent potential in the segment.
 
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