The world’s largest petrol-engine two-wheeler manufacturer is betting big on electric mobility. Hero MotoCorp, which has completed 10 years after the split with Honda Japan, has announced plans to target global leadership in electric two-wheelers by 2025.
The company is on track to enter India's fast-growing electric two-wheeler market early next year. In April this year, Hero inked a strategic partnership with Taiwan-based Gogoro to develop the EV and charging network in India. Meanwhile, it is also working on its very own electric two-wheeler, which has been co-developed at its R&D centres in Germany and CIT, Jaipur, ready alongside its project with Gogoro. This electric scooter was revealed yesterday.
In a livestream at the company’s 10th anniversary celebrations, Dr Pawan Munjal, Chairman and CEO, Hero MotoCorp, teased the company’s upcoming electric scooter, which looks to be near-production-ready. This e-scooter is expected to be based on a fixed charging system, similar to most other electric two-wheelers on sale in India.
Dr Munjal: "The future is electric, collaborative, modular."
Speaking at the event Dr Munjal said, “We are going ahead with both battery charging and fast charging parallelly. We have to go across India and the world very fast. The future is going to be electric, collaborative and modular. Just as new mobility solutions will be critical to our overall business in the future, sustain, diversity and inclusion will play a crucial role for our continued success.”
“Sustainability along with care for the environment, our planet and supporting the communities are a few of my topmost priorities as well as key business goals for Hero MotoCorp. From our green manufacturing facilities to fuel-efficient vehicles to overall sustainability initiatives across the value chain to being the only motorcycle and scooter manufacturer listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, Hero MotoCorp has been and will continue to be at the forefront of propagating sustainability.
"From being water positive to being carbon-neutral to stopping single-use plastic, Hero MotoCorp has very stringent targets over the next decade and I am personally involved in achieving these targets," added Dr Munjal.
While the company has not revealed any details about its first EV, the teaser reveals a 12-inch wheel at the front and a 10-inch unit at the rear. The rear wheel also doesn’t appear to have a hub-mounted motor. Interestingly, it is also equipped with a single-sided swingarm, similar to the Bajaj Chetak. This is unlike the conventional double-sided ones found on Gogoro EVs in Taiwan. Hero’s electric scooter also doesn’t share any major styling elements with the Gogoro electric scooters, and it appears as if this is in fact an indigenous Hero MotoCorp product. Other neat design elements include the flyscreen, curvy bodywork and lengthy split-seat.
Dr Munjal said this upcoming electric scooter will be revealed soon. He added that the company is working on multiple other products, including ones with the battery swapping tech from Gogoro, revealed when Hero first announced its partnership with the Taiwanese company in April 2021.
Eyeing global leadership in electric two-wheelers
That Hero MotoCorp is betting big on EVs comes from what Dr Munjal said – along with a huge focus on electric mobility for the future, he pointed out that Hero MotoCorp is set to be a global leader in the EV segment and that the Indian two-wheeler brand will use its technology centres in India and Germany and its partnerships with the likes of Gogoro and Ather Energy to “springboard into 2030”. He also emphasised that the company will focus on sustainability internally and externally.
Hero MotoCorp is set to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels and consider alternatives such as hydrogen, wind and solar power. About 10 percent of the company will focus on innovation and it aims to reach 100 percent product recyclability along with carbon-neutral dealerships by 2030.
Hero MotoCorp plans to launch its EVsin 20 global markets and expects 15 percent of total volumes to come from global sales by 2025. Additionally, the company is expecting a minimum of 30 percent of its sales to come from digital channels through 2030.
Hero MotoCorp is expected to launch its in-house-developed e-scooter in March 2022. Products from the Hero MotoCorp-Gogoro partnership will also arrive in 2022.
Hero’s growing presence in EVs
Hero MotoCorp, as is known, is one of the lead investors in the Bangalore-based electric scooter maker Ather Energy. The company, which has been a part of Ather’s growth story since 2016, currently has nearly 35 percent of shareholding in the EV maker. Hero MotoCorp, which first invested in the Bangalore-based EV start-up in October 2016, in Series B funding, and invested Rs 84 crore more in July 2020 to hike its stake in Ather to 34.58 percent, invested $12 million (Rs 89 crore) as a part of the Series D round in November 2020. Earlier this year, Ather opened a new smart manufacturing plant in Hosur, with a production capacity of 110,000 e-scooters and also 120,000 battery packs per annum,