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Micro-Mobility: Riding With Hope Into A Covid World

While the domestic automotive sales in India did drop drastically when the lockdown was announced in March 2020 by the government, the future of the mobility market is not all doom and gloom.

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“It’s not that bad!” is what the Indian Mobility sector hopes to say in this pandemic world. While the domestic automotive sales in India did drop drastically when the lockdown was announced in March 2020 by the government, the future of the mobility market is not all doom and gloom. 

The short-term circumstances don’t appear any less dire but the coronavirus situation ended up introducing some beneficial shifts in the mobility sector. There has been a small but significant acceleration in the adoption of Electrical Vehicles (EV) within the country. There is also hope amongst the EV market leaders that there could be further growth in this industry because of the increase in the usage of last-mile deliveries, rentals, and so on. This would in turn increase the market for two-wheelers and three-wheelers in the EV industry and otherwise. With the government trying to work on the economy with new policies for the Electrification of vehicles and maintenance systems, the future for this industry looks hopeful. 

Factors driving the micro-mobility and EV demand 

According to a recent McKinsey report, sales of entry-level scooters and motorcycles have seen a fourfold increase in sales between May and June 2020 alone. Though the report states that the demands come from migrants in rural areas, who work in large cities, and are looking at affordable options to move around, the demand could also be because of city dwellers who relied majorly on public transportation for the work commute, now being prompted to consider affordable options for moving around the city safely. Safe being the keyword here, as shared mobility seems comparatively a risky option for the middle-class workers in the near future. 

Apart from the personal commuting aspect, the change in shopping behavior during Covid has also impacted the automotive industry. Now, there is a high dependence on home delivery of essentials which in turn uses micro-mobility options to carry out the last mile delivery function efficiently. Therefore logistics would certainly aid the growth of micro-mobility down the lane. Last-mile connectivity is a major problem in the country. Even if public transport is open, EV is a more affordable option to solve this problem.

While the sales of two-wheelers as a whole are expected to increase further, reports like the ones from Frost and Sullivan indicate that the sale of electrified micro-mobility options like that of e-two wheelers and e- autos is to account for over 4 million units in India by 2025. The report also predicted that 30-40 percent of the scooters will be electric within 7-8 years. 

Is Covid the only thing that would cause this shift? 

Not really. There are several enablers that would make EVs a better option in comparison to the traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. The reasons are pretty straightforward. EV’s have a lower maintenance costs, their ownership costs are low (The government has also lowered the GST on electric vehicles to 5 percent), and they have lower running costs compared to ICEs. Overall, it's pretty economical to own an entry-level EV and the market that’s looking to invest in personal mobility right now is in the category of consumers that primarily look at the affordability and durability of these automobiles. 

Additionally, EV’s being environmentally friendly is another attractive reason for consumers to be hyped about them. All these reasons reflect in the numbers predicted by the McKinsey report, according to which 2 Wheel EVs’ sales would reach over 8 million by 2030, accounting for over 35% of two-wheelers sold.

By using the right methods of operations and marketing, and the support of government policies the micro-mobility industry is sure to barge through the tough times that Covid has thrown its way. While things look bleak right now it's not too far-fetched for us to say “It’s going to get better.” 


Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Amit Raj Singh

The Author is the Co-Founder & Managing Director of GEMOPAI Electric is accountable for the development of Gemopai Electric Scooters, overall business across India including production and supply chain management

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