Showcased at 2020 Auto Expo, Hero AE-47 electric motorcycle launch has been rescheduled for 2021
It would have been the first electric motorcycle to be launched by Hero Electric, an enterprise known for its popular electric scooters such as Photon, Optima, and Flash. Hero Electric is not to be confused with Hero MotoCorp, which is an entirely different business entity.
Hero Electric Managing Director, Naveen Munjal, has confirmed that there are no plans to launch AE-47 electric motorcycle this year. The company has the capability to launch AE-47 in the next six months, but the plans have been postponed due to several factors. Mr Munjal revealed the details in a recent interview to Fast Bikes India.
The electric two-wheeler market in the country is at a nascent stage and there’s limited demand for high-speed electric vehicles in this space. Hero AE-47 is expected to retail at around Rs 2 lakh, something that would make it inaccessible to a large section of buyers. At that price point, customers will be expecting superior performance and world-class sales and after-sales services.
As compared to electric scooters, electric motorcycles have several limitations. Scooter users would be happy with speeds of 50-60 kmph, but motorcycle users would demand a lot more. Offering a top speed of 85 kmph, AE-47 meets that requirement. However, the battery drains out fast at high speeds, which forces manufacturers to use costly, high-capacity batteries. This increases the overall cost of the electric motorcycle. Replacing the battery after its useful life will also be expensive.
Another challenge is that high-capacity batteries are heavy and larger in size. This makes it difficult to fit it on a standard sized motorcycle. The batteries are usually stacked around the fuel tank space, something that raises the centre of gravity.
This can cause the motorcycle to become unbalanced. In comparison, electric scooters don’t have such issues as the batteries are placed below the seat or below the footrest. Electric scooters can easily support heavy, high-capacity batteries without compromising the centre of gravity.
If we look at global two-wheeler market, scooters are preferred for everyday commute. Motorcycles are preferred in relatively fewer countries, one of which is India. However, current trends indicate that scooters are now growing faster in comparison to motorcycles.
As of now, Hero Electric will focus on mass volume vehicles. Electric motorcycles are on the agenda, but these will be launched when things are favourable as per company’s expectations. AE-47 utilizes a 48V/3.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that supplies power to a 4000W motor. Effective range is 160 km in Eco mode and 85 km in Power mode. AE-47 can reach 0-60 kmph in 9 seconds. It will rival the likes of Revolt RV400.