“In the last four months, the penetration of electric three-wheelers in our sales has increased to 10%. Several states, including Delhi, Gujarat and Maharashtra, have announced policies to encourage e-mobility,” Diego Graffi, managing director at Piaggio Vehicles, told ET. “We expect penetration of electric vehicles in the three-wheeler segment will reach nearly 20-30% in the next 2-3 years.”
Piaggio, which is headquartered in Pontedera (Italy), has manufacturing units in Baramati, Maharashtra.
The growth can be even more if investments are made in the supply chain for deeper localisation, Graffi said, adding, “Right now, we import the powertrain, which adds on to the cost.”
Electric three-wheelers account for about 10% of sales at Piaggio, up from zero about four months ago. While acquisition costs of electric three-wheelers are higher by Rs 10,000-50,000 (depending on the state) compared with diesel- and CNG-powered options, running costs are substantially lower at 50 paise/km, compared with Rs 1.50/km for CNG 3W and Rs 3.50/km for diesel 3W. With battery prices set to fall further, industry stakeholders expect a marked shift towards e-mobility in the segment over the next couple of years.
Overall, in the three-wheeler segment, Piaggio said it saw good demand for cargo carriers following the easing of lockdowns by state governments after the second Covid-19 wave, especially in markets in west and north India. However, sales in the category are expected to normalise only in the first half of the next calendar year. Graffi said he expects three-wheeler sales in the local market this fiscal to be around FY21 levels.
Piaggio sold 62,730 three-wheelers in the domestic market in the last financial year, a decline of 59% from the 152,336 units it sold in FY20. Overall, 216,197 three-wheelers were sold in the country.
As regards two-wheelers, Piaggio said while it is working on attaining its sales target of 100,000 units in CY2021, much would depend on the evolution of lockdown restrictions across the country.
“In many of our important markets in the North-East, in Maharashtra, there are restrictions on operations,” Graffi said. “We had hoped 100% of our dealerships would be operational in July. But that has not happened.”
The company said it is firm on its intent to enter the midsize motorcycle market in India, however, it is yet to determine a timeline for the launch. The product, when launched, will be made locally, it said.
As far as electric two-wheelers are concerned, Piaggio said it has products available globally. The company said it is evaluating the right model for the Indian market but has not determined a timeline for its launch.