»Profit Hunter by Equitymaster

On This Day - 20 DECEMBER 2018
India's Electric Vehicle Future... It Won't be Running on Four Wheels!

Richa Agarwal, Research analyst

Earlier this week I wrote to you about how electric vehicle (EV) adoption and usage is set to go up in the near future. While EVs are nowhere close to replacing or even posing a threat to the traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) machines, a government push, commercial interest and apparent end-user benefits are set to push up EV adoption in the near future.

When I say Electric Vehicles - what comes to your mind?

Most of you would have thought about the stunning Tesla Model 3. Arguably the best looking one of the lot, and also the one that really put consumer EVs into the forefront.

Some of you might have also thought about Mahindra's valiant foray into the electric vehicle space - Reva.

However, did you know that these kinds of four-wheeled EVs make up a very small portion of India's EV market?

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I wouldn't fault you for not knowing either. Most of the media coverage on EVs focuses on electric cars. However, that is not really representative of the total EV market in India.

It is electric two-wheelers that are silently leading the charge.

Electric two wheelers make about 98% of the country's EV sales, and are witnessing growth even as four-wheeler EV sales are falling.

98% of India's EVs Look Like This

According to the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), in FY18, electric car sales came down by 40%, while electric two-wheeler sales almost doubled as compared to the previous year.

Category 2016-17 2017-18
Electric 2-Wheelers 23,000 54,800
Electric Cars 2,000 1,200
Total EV Sales 25,000 56,000
Source: SMEV

What more, there's another segment reaping the benefits of the EV revolution - three wheelers.

Multiple companies are coming up with e-rickshaws to replace the traditional CNG/Petrol run ones offering an economical and pollution free ride.

Just last month, Mahindra launched a line of electric rickshaws running completely on batteries. The company has begun selling them in Hyderabad and Bengaluru on a pilot basis.

Then there also are 1.5 million battery powered rickshaws plying in the northern region of the country. Startups have also sprung up, offering Ola and Uber-like ride hailing services specifically for e-rickshaws.

Even the Chief Executive of Niti Aayog, Amitabh Kant, thinks this is the right way to go when he professed that India needs to focus on electrifying two-wheelers and three-wheelers.

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The biggest reason that two and three-wheeled electric vehicles are outpacing their four-wheeled cousins is that these smaller vehicles don't require the larger, higher amperage, higher cost charging hardware that private electric vehicles need to charge, and can simply plug into any normal wall outlet to recharge.

Electric cars need a proper charging grid and infrastructure, which is almost non-existent outside of large cities.

While most of the focus is on electric cars, India's EV revolution is silently brimming on two and three wheels.

Of course, a lot needs to be done to spur EV adoption further. A solid EV policy will surely go a long way.

Whether it is two-wheelers or four wheelers leading the EV disruption, or whether ICEs will prevail eventually, my latest recommendation stands to gain from all of these outcomes.

You see, the component it supplies finds application in all types of vehicles.

What makes it so unique and critical for its clients are strong technical support with focus on quality, low costs, and most importantly, logistic support. The manufacturing facilities are spread across India, close to the facilities of its clients, offering it a strong edge over its peers.

Amid the recent correction in the small cap space, the stock is down by more than 30%. Make sure you do not get late to ride this great bargain in the auto industry.


Richa Agarwal
Richa Agarwal (Research Analyst)
Editor, Hidden Treasure

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