The No. 1 scooter manufacturer in India and the overall No. 2 two-wheeler player, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) is starting to look at electric vehicles (EVs), which are seemingly picking up pace in the two-wheeler segment in the country.
The Indian arm of the Japanese company, which has remained averse to any local R&D or market analysis on EVs thus far, has finally given the green signal to a new feasibility study, which is set to commence in the coming months.
In an interaction with Autocar Professional, Yadvinder Singh Guleria, senior VP, Sales and Marketing, HMSI, said, "We will very soon be starting our own survey and bring our existing EV products from China to do a feasibility study on the Indian market."
While it has recently launched its brand-new Activa 6G in a BS VI guise, an automatic scooter model which has surpassed sales of over 23 million units in India when rival Bajaj Auto reinstated its iconic Chetak scooter in a full electric form, an EV model focus is some distance away for Honda.
"It's not that Honda doesn't have an electric two-wheeler. We recently launched the PCX electric scooter in a couple of ASEAN markets and we have an EV in China as well. Still in our perception, we have not been able to develop an EV which can fulfill all the needs of a customer in terms of performance or capability which IC engines are providing," Guleria said.
"However, EV technology is definitely going to evolve but how long it would take in the future, is very difficult to assess. EVs have been around for some time globally and have been getting support of respective local governments, but even then, we haven't seen much numbers in any of these countries. And, whenever these subsidies have been withdrawn, there have been clear trends of the markets getting slumped. So, it means that the acceptability of the customer in terms of the deliverables of the usage of EVs haven't met their expectations."
"So, EVs must meet customer expectations and I think the current technology that is available is far from meeting those. We don't see EVs making a dent on conventional two-wheeler sales in the coming few years," Guleria remarked.
"We are about to commence the study and it will take another year or so for it to be completed and then we will chart our next direction," he said.
It may be recollected that HMSI had showcased the PCX Electric urban runabout at the Auto Expo 2018. The PCX is 1923mm long, 745mm wide, and 1107mm tall. This eco-friendly Honda develops 0.98kW, is equipped with a high-output motor developed independently by Honda as well as the Honda Mobile Power Pack, a detachable lithium ion mobile battery pack.