In the next few years, most mainstream two-wheeler manufacturers are expected to launch their electric models
Although volumes are still low, things are moving in the right direction for electric two-wheeler segment. With huge subsidies, increased range and massive investment in charging infrastructure, consumers are willing to shift to electric. More momentum is expected in coming years, as established players like Hero MotoCorp, Honda, and Yamaha enter this space.
Honda new electric scooter
India’s second largest two-wheeler manufacturer, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) is expected to launch their first electric scooter in India in 2022-23. Although details about the scooter are not available, the plans have been confirmed by HMSI president Atsushi Ogata. It is known that the company is currently testing the BENLY e electric scooter.
However, it is not certain if BENLY e is the product that will be launched in India. The scooter was showcased in 2019 at Tokyo Motor Show. BENLY e has been positioned as an electric two-wheeler for commercial use. So, the one meant for India could be an entirely new electric scooter. Globally, Honda Motor has plans to launch three new electric two-wheelers for personal use by 2024.
Eye on global markets
Along with domestic sales, Honda will be aiming to introduce its made-in-India electric scooter to international markets as well. The plan is to achieve a high level of localization. Honda is currently carrying out discussion with various component suppliers. Ogata said that due to its global plans, the launch has been shifted to next financial year. If the electric scooter was to be sold only in domestic market, it could have been launched this year itself.
An advantageous factor for Honda is that it already has the expertise and knowhow to develop an electric two-wheeler. The company is likely to use the Honda Mobile Power Pack (MPP) for its electric two-wheeler. MPP is environment friendly in the real sense, as it uses electricity produced though renewable energy sources such as solar power. MPP can also be used for other electric products such as e-rickshaws. Demand for the latter has consistently increased in India.
Talks with dealers
Honda is likely to hold discussion with its dealers to ensure that their business is not adversely impacted with the entry of electric two-wheelers. Since electric two-wheelers require relatively less service and maintenance, it could impact dealer profitability. To avoid such issues and protect its dealer network, Honda is working on various solutions.
One possibility is to equip dealer facilities with battery charging stations. This will create a new revenue source for dealers. It will be beneficial for users as well.
With localization, it is expected that HMSI will be able to launch its electric scooter at a competitive price point. If it has ample range and features, Honda electric scooter could emerge as another bestseller. The biggest success story so far in electric segment is that of Ola Electric. The company had registered bookings worth Rs 1,100 crore in just a 2-day sale period. Other scooters it will rival include Bajaj Chetak, TVS iQube, Ather 450X and many more.