Development of multiple EVs on the table, first EV bike on track for 2025 launch, says Eicher Motors’ Siddhartha Lal
The company is working on a portfolio of EVs and the first EV is still 24 months away and is likely to come out in 2025.
Siddhartha Lal, MD of Eicher Motors says Royal Enfield is not in a desperate rush to bring out EVs, but the team is working “really hard, day and night,” to come out with an EV motorcycle, that is “differentiated and authentic which interests’ people,” he said.
He said that the company is working on a portfolio of EVs and the first EV is still 24 months away and is likely to come out in 2025.
“The idea is to come out with an amazing EV product, a product that will actually interest people and will change the market dynamics. Our plan has always been to come out in 2025, there is no delay,” he assured.
The company is understood to have been working on a twin track of developing its own EV architecture along with joint development with Stark Motorcycle, a European start up in which the company has invested equity.
Lal said, there are various EVs and they are at a different stage of development, the most advanced one, the company’s engineers have already ridden it, “it is a real motorcycle” and it is beyond prototype stage.
“We are going to take time, to define it, to refine it, to change it (if required), post testing and validation. We are properly riding them, it is a proper motorcycle,” he informed.
To cater to this emerging zero emission segment, the company has set up a dedicated team and it has already brought onboard Mario Alivisi to steer the business and Umesh Krishnappa as the CTO who are working on a portfolio of products.
On the sourcing front too, the company has already partnered with over 11-12 key EV vendors to ensure a high level of localisation beyond cells. The company will source parts locally, where the supply chain and technology has matured, if not it may rely on imports.
As for distribution, the company is exploring all options including a dedicated outlet for EVs.
Sources say the company has committed over Rs 1,500 crore on the EV business and Royal Enfield along with CV division of Eicher Motors has already applied for Government of India’s Production Linked Incentive scheme to avail the benefits – which has a predefined condition to commit Rs 2000 crore.
On the role of alliances and partnerships in EVs, Lal said the company is always open to opportunities to partner, but has so far done everything on its own.
However the company has made an investment in Stark Future, a performance EV bike maker.
“We are working with them. It is about the investment in potential we see in Stark. It is a great segment, but in addition to that, we are working together on certain things,” said Lal.
While the development work is going on day and night, managing the three axes of cost, weight and range still poses a significant challenge, says Lal.
"If you want range, you need to add more batteries, which makes the bike costly. In the car you can disguise the weight, packaging is also a challenge in a motorcycle. We are working around it," he added.
Enfield EV without a thump
When asked how Royal Enfield will bring in the Thump of a Bullet in an EV. Lal said, there won’t be any thump in EVs as it represented something unique in the Bullet motorcycle — the rhythm and the calming pace.
"We don’t want to do anything that is fake. The idea is not to have a speaker,” said Lal jokingly. "Authenticity is more important than anything else. We will see EV for what it is. We want uniqueness in our EVs," he added.
On the future of internal combustion engines, the MD Of Eicher Motors says he thinks it will go on for decades. "We love petrol bikes, we would like to continue as long as we can, as long as regulation allows. I think they will continue for decades,” he said.
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