Piaggio India plans to launch its electric cargo vehicle by year-end

Piaggio Vehicles, India’s second-largest three-wheeler manufacturer is targeting the electric cargo carrier segment after entering the electric passenger carrier category. According to a report published by Moneycontrol.com, Piaggio is aiming to launch its first electric cargo vehicle by the end of 2020.

In the last couple of years, several companies like Mahindra Electric, Piaggio, Bodo EV, Kinetic Green Energy Solution, Euler Motors and Omega Seiki have beefed up the game in the electric three-wheeler space, as demand from various e-commerce companies for the last-mile delivery vehicle has gone up and technology is able to meet the range and price demands.

Now that the government is allowing the sale of 2- and 3-wheeler model without a battery, Piaggio would be focussing on swappable battery technology-enabled passenger three-wheelers. The company already launched the Ape e-City passenger three-wheeler with swappable battery technology in December 2019, at a price of Rs 1.97 lakh. The Ape e-City is powered by a 4.5 kWh battery pack that delivers 5.4 kW power output at 3,500 rpm and 29 Nm of torque output. The electric passenger carrier can hit a top speed of 45 kmph with a range of 68 km per on a fully charged battery.

In March 2019, the government of India announced the phase-II of FAME India scheme, which focuses on supporting electrification of public & shared transportation and aims to support e-3 wheelers among others through incentives. Piaggio aims to take the benefit of that scheme.

Talking about the electric three-wheeler strategy of the company, Piaggio Vehicles, chairman and managing director Diego Graffi said the response to the company’s first electric three-wheeler was promising. The passenger model with a battery swapping was on sale between January and March this year.

He said that after lockdown, because of the restrictions on shared mobility, the company saw quite a dip in consumer demand. He added that since later part of July 2020, demand in the segment has started to pick up again. As Graffi hopes, the demand should be at a good pace in the next few months.

The electric three-wheeler space is one of the fast-growing segments in the Indian EV market, and Mahindra Electric aims to take full advantage of the growth targeting 10,000 units a month. According to the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicle (SMEV), in FY19, 6.3 lakh units of electric three-wheelers were sold across India, which was even higher than the fossil fuel-powered three-wheeler sales, recording 5.72 lakh units in the same fiscal year.