For a long time, the Indian 2W EV revolution was in the hands of startups like Ola and Ather. Now, mainstream manufacturers like TVS and Bajaj have stepped in to carve a segment for themselves. Honda doesn't want to be left behind as it is the second-largest 2W manufacturer and the largest scooter manufacturer in India.
The company's holistic approach will be revealed tomorrow on March 29th and reportedly, there will be 10 EVs in the bag for India. Two of these are going to set the grounds for future EVs to follow. One of these first two will be an electric Activa with a fixed battery and the other will be a moped (likely Benly-e) with a removable battery.
Honda Plans 10 2W EVs
The company is reportedly developing 10 different EVs to cater to all sorts of customer base. Expect different speeds, ranges, body types, styles, features and even prices with these upcoming EVs. In the roadmap revealed by the company last year, we can see multiple scooters with varied design and body, we have maxi scooters, motorcycles, and even mini-bikes.
This is a holistic approach to establishing a portfolio to cater to most customer bases. Given that India's largest automaker Hero MotoCorp has set its foot in the 2W EV space with the Vida brand, Honda needs to hurry up.
First Japanese Brand To Enter EV Space
Launch timeframe for these vehicles is said to be by the end of this decade. Starting with Electric Activa in 2024 and Benly-e (likely) soon after that with a swappable battery. These are codenamed GJNA and K4BA (not respectively). By doing so, Honda will essentially be the first Japanese motorcycle and scooter manufacturer to venture in EV space in India.
Currently, In India, Ola has carved a niche for itself by offering a plethora of features and is the highest seller in its segment. Honda might bank heavily on its Activa brand instead of features to push volumes.
Battery Swapping Stations
For Honda, battery swapping tech is likely to be the key to establishing supremacy over rivals. A new vertical named Honda Power Pack Energy India has been established in Bengaluru. Starting from Bengaluru, Honda has partnered up with HPCL and Bengaluru Metro to establish swapping stations.
When started, these swapping stations will be equipped to provide 1.35 kWh battery packs for swaps for electric two and three-wheeled vehicles. Soon after this, major cities will see a chain of swapping stations popping up. More elaborate plan will be revealed on March 29, 2023.
Honda Electric 2W Production Capacity
People in the know have revealed that the first two offerings set to launch in 2024 are expected to push 5 lakh units in sales. While the following vehicles launched by 2027 are expected to take that number to 10 lakh units. For the very first year, Honda is planning for upto 1.5 lakh units and shooting for a double-digit YoY growth as well.
Honda Manesar factory will see an upgrade. Honda intends to convert it into a global hub for the production of motorcycles and scooters. It has also changed the name of the Manesar facility to 'Global Resource Factory' which in effect, is to be a global hub for motorcycle exports. This upgrade of the manufacturing plant will allow Honda to build and export world-class products from the Indian facility.
Honda currently exports motorcycles to 40 different countries and the upgrade will help them reach new scales. Honda Roadmap also facilitates a 360-degree state-of-the-art turnaround of the factory. In effect, all corporate functions happen under one roof to improve efficiency of the operations and efficiency across teams and verticals.
Commuter flex-fuel motorcycle
The Japanese manufacturer is also looking to explore the possibilities of flex-fuel technologies in India. This technology is already in effect in its Brazilian counterparts. Flex-fuel motorcycles run on petrol and Ethanol. The user can switch back and forth to any fuel he may choose to ride with. Ethanol is very economical to run and efficient too.