With most EV users prioritizing cost per km, it has become challenging for established ICE players to integrate traditional brand values in their electric products
Electric-two-wheeler segment in India has been registering robust growth month after month. However, ICE-based OEMs like Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Royal Enfield are yet to foray in this space. Clearly, a sense of urgency seems to be missing, as generally seen with startups in EV segment.
Talking about Yamaha specifically, the company was planning to bring its Neo’s electric scooter to India. This was confirmed around a year back by Eishin Chihana, chairman of Yamaha India. However, things have changed since then. Yamaha’s entry into EV space in India has been further delayed by around 2 to 3 years.
Yamaha working on new premium EV
Discontinuation of Neo’s India launch plans is quite disheartening for Yamaha enthusiasts who were eagerly waiting to see their favourite brand in electric format. However, Yamaha has assured that they are working on a new premium EV for Indian market. This will be a performance-oriented electric machine, much better and capable than Neo’s. It’s just that users will have to wait patiently for 2-3 years to see this new Yamaha EV in action.
There are specific reasons why Neo’s launch plan in India has been shelved. Firstly, the immediate ecosystem has changed dramatically with things like reduction in subsidies and newer regulatory policies. Moreover, Yamaha has realized that the purpose of buying an EV in India is different from that of other markets.
For example, people in Europe buy EV scooters, as they feel motivated to do their bit for the environment. In India, most users buy EVs with the goal to reduce running costs. This is due to an increase in petrol prices. In comparison, Yamaha’s existing ICE customer base focuses on other aspects such as style, aspirational value and performance. This is why Yamaha is working on a new premium EV for India. It will be sporty, stylish and exciting, a perfect match with brand Yamaha.
Not chasing volumes
With its new premium EV for India, Yamaha will cater to a niche target audience. The new EV will be meant for folks who are looking for something truly unique. Yamaha will not be focusing on volumes with its upcoming premium EV. Instead, the focus is on creating something sporty and outstanding. It will have an electric heart, but style and performance will be just as good as the current range of Yamaha bikes.
Yamaha does not want to create something in a rush, as it won’t add value to the brand. So, the company will invest adequate time and effort in development of the new EV. For folks who can’t wait, it will be better to go with Yamaha’s ICE-based machines such as R15 and MT-15. Yamaha is also working on plans to bring R3, R7, MT-03, MT-07 and MT-09 to India.