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NEW DELHI, June 22 (Reuters) – India’s federal think tank has asked scooter and motorbike makers to come up with a plan to switch to electric vehicles, days after publicly opposing government proposals saying that they would disrupt the industry, two sources told Reuters. .
Niti Aayog officials met with executives from companies including Bajaj Auto, Hero MotoCorp and TVS on Friday night, giving them two weeks to work out the plan, according to one of the executives.
The think tank, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and playing a key role in shaping policy, had recommended that only electric models of scooters and motorcycles with an engine capacity above 150cc be sold from 2025 , sources told Reuters.
Automakers have opposed the proposal and warned that a sudden transition, at a time when auto sales have fallen to a two-decade low, would lead to market disruption and job losses.
India is one of the world’s largest two-wheeler markets with sales of over 20 million scooters and motorcycles last year.
During Friday’s meeting, government officials argued that the switch to electric vehicles was of national importance so that India does not miss out on the global momentum towards more environmentally friendly vehicles, the official said. one of the sources.
But industry leaders have responded that a premature switch without an established supply chain, charging infrastructure or skilled workforce in India, could see India lose its leadership position in scooters and scooters. motorcycles, the second source said.
“There were clearly strong positions,” the source said, adding that there were “strong opinions” at the meeting.
Bajaj, Hero and Niti Aayog did not respond to a request for comment, while TVS declined to comment.
Niti Aayog is working with several other ministries on the recommendations, which are part of an electrification effort to help India lower its fuel import bill and reduce pollution.
The proposal also includes incentives for local battery production, an increase in the cost of owning petrol-powered cars and the formation of a scrapping policy for old vehicles, according to government meeting minutes seen by Reuters.
The panel also suggested measures such as asking taxi aggregators like Uber and Ola to convert 40% of their fleets to electric by April 2026, Reuters reported.
Executives from electric vehicle start-up Ather Energy, ride-sharing company Ola and officials from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), an industry trade body, also attended the meeting, said the sources.
The proposals are India’s second attempt to switch to electric vehicles. In 2017, he proposed an ambitious plan primarily for electric cars, but backed down after facing resistance from automakers.
The current surge could disrupt the two-wheeler market order and open avenues for local start-ups, analysts say.
Scooter and bicycle start-ups like Ather, 22Motors and Okinawa are already making inroads in India.
“It is extremely critical that we make the transition to electricity quickly, lest we be wiped out by another global wave,” said Tarun Mehta, CEO and co-founder of Ather. (Reporting by Aditi Shah, additional reporting by Aftab Ahmed, editing by Alasdair Pal and Clelia Oziel)