Hero MotoCorp, which entered the electric vehicle (EV) market with Vida brand of electric scooter on Friday, said it will launch affordable electric scooters in the future, but added that internal combustion engine (ICE) products will continue to stay.

“We have enough and more (products) coming up in ICE. But, this (EV) industry is evolving, we are learning and we will keep learning as the market grows, as the volumes grow and as the customers grow...,” Pawan Munjal, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Hero MotoCorp, said on the sidelines of the launch.

The company launched two variants of V1 electric scooter - V1 Plus and V1 Pro — priced at ₹1.45 lakh and ₹1.59 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), respectively. These are one of the most expensive electric scooters in the Indian market now. The Vida V1 will compete with the likes of Bajaj Auto’s Chetak (₹1.52 lakh), Ola S1 (₹1 lakh onwards), TVS Motor’s iQube (₹1.76 lakh onwards) and Okinawa’s Okhi-90 (₹1.22 lakh onwards).

“We are big in motorcycles today and as of today and in the foreseeable future, there is not much happening in motorcycles. On scooters, we are not that big today, so this is an opportunity for us to take off with scooters. For a country like ours, it’s not an easy task, it’s an uphill task. Having said that we are going to do it, but ICE is here to stay for quite sometime,” he said.

Munjal also indicated that in the future, if required, Vida, which is part of Hero’s ‘Emerging Mobility Business Unit’ (EMBU), will be spun off into a different company.

“EMBU in itself is a separate entity and it is a start-up supported/ backed by the Hero infrastructure, Hero teams, Hero technology...and with Hero’s balance sheet, there is sufficient cash available...As we go along we will study that (spin off).”

Premium product

On high prices, he said, “It’s loaded with features, possibilities and obviously every feature possibility costs money...it is an investment. We are starting with a premium product, but it doesn’t mean that we will never have a more affordable product than this in terms of pricing.”

It will also launch electric motorcycles, he said adding that future products will have swappable batteries and Hero will export to markets such as Latin America, Bangladesh and Europe. The company recently announced an equity investment of up to $60 million in California- based Zero Motorcycles. The collaboration will focus on co-developing electric motorcycles.

He added that the company will not go for “high volumes upfront” and will expand to eight cities from December from three now – Bengaluru, New Delhi and Jaipur.

On supply chain issues and possible semiconductor shortages, Munjal said: “All the supply issues are behind us. If and when there were issues with a certain supplier, we already made alternative arrangements and got new suppliers. We will start bookings from Monday and deliveries from mid-December.”

Net energy content

Vida V1 Pro has a net energy content of 3.94 kWh and V1 Plus has a net energy content of 3.44 kWh. The scooter comes with standard five-year warranty for 50,000 km. The batteries are covered by a warranty valid for three years or up to 30,000 km, the company said. The V1 Pro offers a range of 165 km and V1 PLUS offers a range of 143 km, it said.

Designed and developed at Hero’s research and development hubs, the Centre of Innovation and Technology in Jaipur and the Hero Tech Centre Germany near Munich, Vida V1 is being manufactured at Hero MotoCorp’s Garden Factory at Chittoor, in Andhra Pradesh.

The writer is in Jaipur at the invitation of Hero MotoCorp

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