Hero MotoCorp’s electrification journey begins in 2022, with the world’s largest two-wheeler gamer set to launch its first electric scooter by March. While the e-scooter sector is experiencing spectacular growth, is Hero MotoCorp’s core business still in the motorcycle segment Own motorcycle? The answer to this is no, at least for the foreseeable future, because Hero sees today’s restrictions that make e-motorcycles impracticable on several fronts.
Motorcycles – highly preferred by the Indian masses for their daily commute – are more efficiency-oriented than scooters, and have performance and long range that appeal to two-wheeler buyers, especially those who live outside the big city. Then there is the cost factor – in the case of Hero, the most popular models, the Splendor and HF series, are also the cheapest models.
To build an electric motorcycle that could offer the performance and range of gasoline-powered motorcycles, Hero would need a large battery pack and a suitably powerful electric motor, which would drive up costs, and so the company believes that all-electric motorcycles are ‘way away “how things are.
“From our point of view, electric vehicles in motorcycles are a long way off. There is a huge difference in the fuel efficiency of a motorcycle compared to a scooter, especially for entry-level motorcycles. Second, also look at the pricing which is different. Third, when you look at the range and performance required for average use by a motorcyclist, and the distances they must travel, the size and capacity of the battery must be far greater if you are to serve that consumer. On the one hand, you have to pay attention to a lower price, but to a higher battery capacity and a longer range, because the daily average use of a scooter would be far less than that of a commuter motorcycle, ”says Niranjan Gupta, Chief Financial Officer at Hero MotoCorp, during one recent interaction with analysts.
Right now, the only options for those looking to buy an electric motorcycle in India are the Revolt RV400 (which recently received a hefty price hike) and a deluge of Chinese-made kit bikes. Hero is of the opinion that the costs of installing a purely electric drive in a commuter or even a mid-range motorcycle would be too high with the current battery technology and that electric motors are currently only useful for players in the premium segment.
“There are some super-premium players around the world where a customer can pay a huge premium to own this vehicle, but when it comes to commuting and what is likely to be the mid-range segment, they are a long way off,” noted Gupta.
There aren’t many e-motorcycles to choose from in overseas markets either – the only established bicycle manufacturer with an e-motorcycle in its portfolio is Harley-Davidson, which launched the LiveWire a few years ago, and reception for the Bike was lukewarm at best. Other big names in the industry are preparing for electric motorcycles – Ducati will supply motorcycles for the all-electric MotoE class of MotoGP to eventually build e-bikes for road use, and Triumph will introduce its first electric motorcycles, currently known as the Superbike Working name ‘Project TE-1’, in 2022.
Currently, Hero MotoCorp believes that it will be scooters that will lead the spread of electric vehicles in the country in the future. The company is open to reconsidering the idea of an electric motorcycle when current battery technology advances significantly to make it viable, or when alternative battery technologies prove to be more effective solutions.
“For the next few years at least, the spread of electric vehicles will be driven by scooters and then with the development of battery technology that lets you pack more at less and at a lower cost. maybe other cell technologies (like solid-state batteries) will be added and only then can we look at that, ”said Gupta of the prospects for an electric motorcycle from Hero MotoCorp.
Hero’s first electric scooter – which is expected to compete with Ather 450X and Ola S1 – was developed at the Hero MotoCorp CIT in Rajasthan in collaboration with the Hero Tech Center in Germany and is based in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh. manufactured .
To gain an edge over other manufacturers, Hero MotoCorp has decided to adopt Ather Energy’s fast charging technology for its fixed charge electric scooters and has also partnered with Gogoro to provide Hero branded e-scooters with replaceable battery, of which the first could arrive sometime in the second half of 2022.
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