Honda is currently the leader in ICE scooter segment with Activa smashing sales records like clockwork
Honda electric scooters were thought to be a distant possibility as Honda had mentioned before. The Japanese company had even started development of flex-fuel technology for low-cost Indian commuter motorcycle segment. Right now, Honda is the undisputed leader in ICE scooters in India.
We were all under the impression that Honda would probably step its foot into electric scooter segment in 2025 or later. But, this is a big but, Honda has now revealed that they have considered electric scooters and will launch their product in early 2023. This decision was revealed by Atsushi Ogata, MD, President and CEO, HMSI.
This decision was made right after the company launched a street fighter CB300F which we were all hoping to be a Forza 350 maxi-scooter. So, there is finally something good that followed the CB300F launch, huh? This is big news and let’s break it down.
Honda Electric Scooter
Being a mainstream manufacturer like TVS and Bajaj, we can expect Honda’s electric scooters to be safe and impervious to EV fire hazards that some EV startups are prone to. Honda has already initiated a new vertical named Honda Power Pack Energy India. Its task is to locally produce swappable batteries for two and three-wheeled EVs in India.
Honda conducted a thorough pilot study in 2021 at Thane, Maharashtra. It clocked 2,00,000 km and 7,000 battery swaps in total. Honda has partnered up with HPCL and Bengaluru Metro to establish swapping stations, starting from Bengaluru. It was expected to start operating in May of 2022. That might be the reason for Honda Benly e electric scooter that we spotted in India.
For development of its first electric scooter, HMSI is formulating a team of engineers from Honda Motorcycles, Japan. Ogata also said that HMSI had been in touch with Honda Japan for six months where they already have expertise in electric scooters. Ogata also mentioned that HMSI is creating a “futuristic Activa” hinting that Honda’s maiden EV in India might have the name Activa in it. This is different from Activa 7G which was teased recently.
It makes sense too. As Activa is already the de facto choice in scooters. A maiden EV with this legend’s name might make it a de facto choice in electric scooters. Millions of Indians already associate themselves with Activa brand. Like Bolero Neo, because TUV300 name was the drag. Okay, Mahindra has a weird naming strategy by using letters and numbers instead of words.
Honda Activa Electric – What To Expect?
For starters, Honda’s first EV might adopt the swappable battery tech mentioned above. This basically means that a user is not owning the battery and just renting it. So, the initial high costs that are associated with EVs might be negated this way. Hence drawing more and more people towards EVs.
Familiarity seems to be Honda’s priority and hence the hints of a “Futuristic Activa”. It is likely to get the Activa name. Honda will also make sure that it has decent performance and range needn’t be very high as the battery can be swapped to a fully charged one in a jiffy, hence reducing range anxiety and slow battery charging hassles. When launched, Activa electric will compete with TVS iQube, Ola S1 Pro, Ather 450X, Simple One and a lot more.
According to industry experts, the Indian EV market is likely to expand at a CAGR of 77% by value sometime within 2017 and 2025. Honda may have bought the ticket late, but catching this EV train is paramount. Yamaha, you next?