Yamaha studies feasibility of electric bicycles in India, inks MoU with Hero and Mitsui

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 21 Nov 2018


Yamaha Motor will supply Hero Cycles with drive units (E-kits), the power source designed for electrically power assisted bicycles.

Yamaha Motor Co has announced plans to engage in collaboration with major Indian bicycle manufacturer Hero Cycles and Mitsui & Co regarding the business feasibility of electrically power assisted bicycles in India.  

The announcement was made at Yamaha Motors headquarters in Iwata, Japan at a meeting attented by Hero Motors Company chairman and managing director Pankaj M Munjal, Yamaha Motor Co executive general manager (SPV Business Unit) Mitsuyoshi Sunakawa and Mitsui & Co general manager (Third Motor Vehicles Div), Yuji Tokunaga.

Based on surveys of consumer preferences and the various regulations in India, this collaboration will evaluate the business possibilities available for electrically power assisted bicycles in India. Yamaha Motor will supply Hero Cycles with drive units (E-kits), the power source designed for electrically power assisted bicycles, with Hero Cycles to develop and manufacture electrically power assisted bicycles utilizing E-kits for sale under its own brand. 

Test sales of these electrically power assisted bicycles utilising Hero Cycle's sales channels will begin from early 2019 in a limited number of cities such as Delhi. 

"The partnership has been formed with a forward-looking plan which includes development of new e-mobility products jointly by Hero and Yamaha, with go-to-market sales, distribution and marketing support by Mitsui & Co,” said Pankaj Munjal. The first product for India to roll out from this alliance would be a high-end E-MTB, which is the same segment that has seen the fastest growth in Europe in the last year.

The announcement comes in the wake of other initiatives recently announced by Hero Cycles, amongst which the Cycle Valley project which would serve as is a hub for end-to-end supply chain of the bicycle industry. The Cycle Valley would be led by Hero Cycles as the anchor investor and will create an ecosystem of suppliers in joint ventures with global bicycle component makers.

Hero Cycles  is the flagship company of the Hero Motors Company group, and is the world’s largest integrated bicycle manufacturer by volume, manufacturing and selling more than 19,000 bicycles every day. Firefox Bikes India, Avocet Sports UK and BSH Ventures Sri Lanka are the other bicycles companies from the Hero Motors Company.

The Indian bicycle market has a total scale of approximately 15 million units annually, and the income level of the Indian population of 1.3 billion people has been rising along with the country's economic development. The total demand for motorcycles, a key Yamaha Motor business, has now reached 20 million units annually, and thus India has become the world's largest motorcycle market. Yamaha Motor considers that similar future growth in the electrically power assisted bicycle market is possible. 

The Yamaha Motor electrically power assisted bicycles business began with the world-first launch of he PAS in 1993. Overseas sales currently focus on exports of E-kits to European bicycle manufacturers.