India’s top two-wheeler makers are on a collision course with the government over the deadline for electrification

Niti Aayog Chief Executive Amitabh Kant and Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar address a press conference after the fifth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog, in New Delhi.Photo/ Kamal Kishore) (

  • Niti Aayog held meeting with chiefs Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor on Friday.
  • The government think tank wants two-wheeler and three-wheeler vehicles in India to go electric by 2023 and 2025 but the industry is protesting.
  • The meet was attended by Bajaj Auto MD, Rajiv Bajaj and TVS Motor Chairman, Venu Srinivasan, among others. Hero MotoCorp Chairman Pawan Munjal skipped the meeting.
The Narendra Modi government in India is keen on electrifying as many vehicles on Indian roads as possible. However, the latest proposal to set a deadline of 2023 for two-wheeler makers and 2025 for three-wheeler makers has the companies up in arms.

In a meeting with representatives of two and three wheeler manufacturing industries, the central think tank of India, the NITI Aayog on June 21, has asked the industry majors to draw up and present a plan to switch to electric vehicles (EV’s) in the coming years, in two weeks.

However manufacturers have shown disappointment with the plan sitting that they have already been forced to deal with an accelerated timeline for the new emission norms that are due to sweep in in 2020.

While Rajiv Bajaj, the Managing Director of Bajaj Auto, reportedly called it ‘shock and awe’, Venu Srinivasan, Chairman, TVS Motor, told the Economic Times that the government seemed to “negate in one stroke” the strides made by India in building the world’s largest two wheeler market. While Bajaj and TVS argued for more reasonable timelines, Pawan Munjal who heads India’s largest two-wheeler company, Hero Moto Corp, did not even attend the meeting on Friday.

Further, the companies argued for fiscal incentives to promote manufacturing and sales of electric two-wheelers and three-wheelers. “I’m in awe of the apparent willingness to subsidise EVs — an approximate ₹1 lakh per vehicle — to help achieve reasonable price parity with ICE two- and three- wheelers for an estimated minimum industry size of 25 million by 2025,” Bajaj said.

However, the Niti Aayog reportedly has the support from two-wheeler EV startups, represented by Tarun Mehta, founder of Alther Energy, and Sulajja Motwani of the Firodia group. However, the current manufacturing capacity of the startups is too low to meet the government’s target.