India's largest two-wheeler manufacturer Hero MotoCorp is reported to be working on a new line of performance electric two-wheelers, to be called Electric Ultra Sport (e.US). According to latest reports, Hero MotoCorp is developing the electric two-wheelers at its German tech centre in Munich, in close cooperation with a newly opened research and development centre in Jaipur. Hero is also working on new drivetrains for "affordable" motorcycle solutions which are under development in Munich. These will include all-new platforms as well as innovations on existing platforms.
The new electric two-wheelers will be manufactured in India, but will be equipped with components from Hero MotoCorp's European suppliers. Pawan Munjal, Chairman and Managing Director of Hero MotoCorp, is quoted as having told shareholders in the company's annual general meeting that Hero MotoCorp is on course to enter the electric two-wheeler segment. Munjal also said that possibilities to bring in new technologies are also being evaluated across different segments, but Hero MotoCorp EV line-up will be independent of its associate EV brand Ather Energy's range of electric two-wheelers. Hero MotoCorp owns 38.57 per cent in Ather Energy, and Ather Energy is well on its way to establish itself across India, as a manufacturer of premium electric two-wheelers.
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So far, there aren't many details on what the EV line-up from Hero MotoCorp will include; but Hero is known to be working on its own version of an electric scooter which is in an advanced state of development. Other leading two-wheeler brands like Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor Company already have electric scooters, with Bajaj having the Bajaj Chetak electric scooter, while TVS has the iQube electric scooter.
Hero MotoCorp has primarily been a leader in the commuter motorcycle space, leading in high volumes with models like the Hero Splendor and Hero HF Deluxe. Hero's products always focus on affordability, and even though the upcoming electric two-wheeler line-up is said to be focussed on performance, it won't be inaccurate to assume that Hero MotoCorp's EVs will be price competitive.
The only challenge for now, seems to be branding. Apparently, Hero MotoCorp will not be able to use the Hero brand name for EVs under an agreement within the Munjal family. The right to use the 'Hero' brand for electric products lies exclusively with Naveen Munjal-led Hero Electric, which has more than 600 dealerships across the country, and is India's largest electric two-wheeler producer. So far, there's been no confirmation from Hero MotoCorp on what its line of EVs will be called, or when they will be production ready to be introduced in the market.