The country’s second largest two-wheeler maker Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) is looking at riding the EV wave with the launch of an entry-level product priced below its best-selling scooter Activa.
The product is in the development phase, Atsushi Ogata, President, HMSI told ET, adding with a couple of more models scheduled in the space the company hopes to clock sales of a million EVs by 2030.
Ogata said, “We have completed the feasibility study. Our first electriproduct is under development. We expect the market for electric two-wheelers will reach around 3 million units by 2030. We want to bring in multiple models and have a 30% share in this category by the end of the decade.”
The largest two-wheeler maker from Japan may carry forward the iconic nomenclature of Activa in the EV avatar as well. Apart from the fixed battery solution, HMSI may opt for a swappable battery solution. It will be a portfolio of options right from low powered to high powered to even alternative for last mile commercial operators, said Ogata.
HMSI is working with supply chain partners to maximise local content by procuring key components for the electric two-wheeler from vendors in India. HMSI is also considering exporting the vehicle from India to markets in the Honda Motor network to build volumes after launch.
Ogata declined to share details of the range and timeline for the launch of the vehicle. The first electric two-wheeler will deliver a top speed of 60 km per hour. He confirmed the vehicle will be positioned below Honda Activa, which comes tagged between ₹72,000-75,000 (ex-showroom). The vehicle is likely to hit the road in FY24, said people in the know.
“With this product, we are targeting customers who are looking at electric two-wheelers as an additional option. It will be an affordable mid-range product for specific use cases,” Ogata added. The company is in the process of finalising the facility at which it will manufacture EVs.
A leader in the scooter segment, HMSI currently rolls out its model range from four manufacturing plants – Manesar (Haryana), Tapukara (Rajasthan), Narsapura (Karnataka) and Vithalapur (Gujarat).
The decision from HMSI to enter the EV market in India comes at a time when several mainstream players such as Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto, TVS Motor Company and startups like Ola Electric have announced aggressive plans in the segment. In the two-wheeler segment, companies such as Hero Electric and Electrotherm have been selling electric scooters in India for several years now. But sales have remained low at about 231,378 units in the last financial year, compared with 13.5 million two-wheelers powered by fossil fuels.