Unlike EV startups that are starting from scratch, Honda can quickly expand its footprint by leveraging its existing pan-India sales and service network
While it has been late in electric two-wheeler space, Honda has intentions to expand rapidly in coming years. For FY2024, Honda has confirmed that it will be launching two electric scooters. One of these will have a fixed battery setup, whereas the other will utilize swappable battery tech. Honda has shared a design sketch teaser of these two scooters.
One of Honda’s upcoming electric scooters could be named Activa Electric. Patent documents accessed recently had revealed designs of a fixed battery setup and hub motor. Honda will be targeting a high level of localization to be able to launch its electric scooters at a competitive price point. It will rival TVS iQube, Bajaj Chetak, and soon to be launched Burgman Electric.
Honda new platform E
Honda’s upcoming electric two-wheelers will be based on an entirely new platform, built from the ground up. Codenamed Platform E, Honda’s new electric platform will be able to support different types of battery architecture and installations. It will support both fixed battery and swappable battery formats. The latter will be utilizing Honda’s Mobile Power Pack E.
To reduce production costs, Honda will be sourcing most of the components from local manufacturers. It will include the battery packs and power control units (PCUs). Just like its ICE scooters, Honda’s upcoming electric two-wheelers will be targeted at export markets as well. India could emerge as one of Honda’s global hubs for manufacturing affordable electric two-wheelers.
Honda Workshop E and Factory E
To ensure a smooth landing for its upcoming electric two-wheelers, Honda has plans to deploy battery charging and battery swapping infrastructure across its more than 6,000 customer touchpoints. Of course, the plans will be executed in a phased manner.
Some of the existing touchpoints will be converted to Workshop E, which will cater exclusively to EVs. All the necessary equipment such as charging cables will be available at these workshops. Honda will also be working to provide battery charging solutions at select petrol pumps, metro stations and other similar locations.
Honda is working on a South to North plan for its EV infrastructure, where the initial focus will be more on Southern states. The starting point is Bengaluru, where Honda has already established 23 battery swapping stations. In Phase 2, more such swapping stations will come up, especially in southern states. In the 3rd phase, swapping stations will be deployed pan-India.
Battery swapping system is probably the most convenient way to use electric two-wheelers. As of now, there’s hardly any brand that offers such facilities across the country. When Honda’s battery swapping network is up and running, there’s expected to be a huge demand for its EVs. To cater to that, Honda is building a dedicated Factory E at its existing facility in Narsapura in Karnataka. By 2030, Factory E will have a production capacity of 1 million units per annum.