Piaggio India cautious on electric vehicle spending, says EV infrastructure still not ready
- Diego Graffi, MD and CEO of Piaggio Vehicles, told CNBC-TV18 that the electric vehicle infrastructure is still not ready and the firm will be cautious in making investments in the space.
- Piaggio said it has plans to invest Rs 300 crore in the next three years in India, but only a “very small part” of it will be used towards electric vehicles.
Piaggio Vehicles, the country’s second-largest three-wheeler maker, has voiced concerns over the government’s electric vehicle-related policies.
Diego Graffi, MD and CEO of Piaggio Vehicles, told CNBC-TV18 that the electric vehicle infrastructure is still not ready and the firm will be cautious in making investments in the space.
Piaggio, the Indian arm of the Italian automaker, said it plans to invest Rs 300 crore in the next three years in India, but only a “very small part” of it will be used towards electric vehicles as the plan was validated two years ago, when the talk of electric mobility in India wasn’t as serious and resembled hearsay and rumours.
“We have lined up investments worth more than Rs 300 crore in the next three years to reinforce and expand our penetration in the three-wheeler space in India. We still have a huge space for growth here. Out of the Rs 300 crore, only a small part so far has been dedicated to electric vehicles because this plan had been validated more than two years ago when hardly anybody was talking about electric mobility in India. However it is not only a matter of producing electric vehicles but also about creating infrastructure and the eco-system to make these vehicles operational,” Graffi said.
Graffi’s comments come amid reports that the government plans to ban sale of internal combustion engine (ICE) three-wheelers by 2023 along with sales of less than 150 cc two-wheelers by 2025.
However, top government sources told CNBC-TV18 that no decision has been taken yet on deadline to phase out two and three wheelers.
“We are looking at that (the government proposal) very seriously”, Graffi said.
“The recommendation is impacting our business very seriously,” Graffi said, but cautioned that “with that deadline, it is not only a matter of producing electric vehicles but also to create the conditions and infrastructure to render these vehicles operational.”
Like Piaggio, other automakers such as Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor have also raised concerns over the government’s electric vehicle-related policies, calling it “unrealistic” and “ill-timed”.
Piaggio plans to start production of its first-ever range of entirely in-house E-three-wheeler at its Baramati plant in Maharashtra.
The first line of the vehicles will go into production from September this year and is likely to be rolled out before the end of the year. The vehicles are currently at the development stage.
Graffi said Piaggio will expand its focus on the alternative fuels space as well. “The alternative fuel segment is giving us a lot of opportunity in India and also outside. 90 percent of our Vespa sales, for example, come from alternative fuels” he said.
Piaggio on Friday launched four new three-wheelers marking its entry into the mid-body segment of three-wheeler passenger vehicles. The new range, titled Apé City Plus comes in petrol, diesel, CNG and LPG variants, and also with four different colour schemes.