Two-wheeler major Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) is gearing up to launch its first electric vehicle (EV) in the country in the next financial year, a top company official has said. The company, which sells popular models like Activa and Shine in the country, aims to start a feasibility run of the electric scooter with its dealer partners at the end of the festive season this year.
In an interaction with PTI, HMSI President, Managing Director and CEO Atsushi Ogata said the company has decided to foray into the segment after having a detailed discussion with its parent firm — Honda Motor Company in Japan.
In-depth details are yet to be finalized but “we have made a commitment to launch (EV product) within the next financial year”, he noted. When asked if the company has started testing the product in India, Ogata said: “Not yet officially but after Diwali…we will set up the feasibility study officially at our dealerships.”
He said that many companies, including overseas players, were entering the EV segment as the government was supportive of investments in the green infrastructure. Elaborating further, Ogata stated that customers have started using the EVs for short commutes in the city environment but for long-distance traveling and rural areas, internal combustion engine two-wheelers still had an edge.
“Some customers are using electric two-wheelers for very short commutes or very flat street conditions in big cities. So such customers have started to consider such options but still, I think major customer segments are preferring to keep our existing line-up because still in front of EV products, existing ICE engine specs have a lot of positive points,” Ogata stated.
He further said: “So far I don’t believe there will be a drastic shift from ICE engines to the EV. We are considering it because we have the know-how of EV technology for the last several decades, so why not consider it for the Indian market.”
He noted that the upcoming electric scooter would add to the company’s line-up in the country and there were no plans to shift existing range like Activa or Shine to electric over the next three years.
Ogata stated that not only the EV product, but the company is also going to consider tapping the opportunity in the battery management systems. With the government pushing for clean technologies in the automotive sector, EV segment is witnessing lot of action in the country.
Already, the country’s largest two-wheeler maker, Hero MotoCorp, has announced that it is looking to launch an electric model next year. The company has also tied up with Taiwan-based Gogoro Inc to bring the latter’s battery-swapping platform to India.
Similarly, Chennai-based TVS Motor Company will launch a complete range of electric two and three-wheelers with power output ranging from 5 to 25 kilowatts in the next two years. The company, which has earmarked an investment of Rs 1,000 crore on its electric vehicles (EV) business, will also continue to invest in conventional engine vehicles, where it sees growth opportunities.