Hero to drive into Europe with e-motorcycle

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 04, 2011 19:10 hrs

Hero Electric is all set to test waters in the European markets for electric motorcycles, as the company plans to export e-motorbikes to European countries soon. The company is showcasing its electric motorcycle in Switzerland later this month.

Sohinder Gill, chief executive officer of Hero Electric said, "We are showcasing our electric motorcycle in Switzerland on February 17 and want to see what is the response to the product, and also gauge whether the demand is more for electric motorcycles or high-power electric scooters."

Hero Electric has developed an electric motorcycle for the European markets, partly with home-grown technology and partly using technology from a Taiwanese company.

Gill explained that the bikes will be made in India and then exported to Europe. These vehicles will not be for the Indian market. Hero Electric can produce around 200-250 bikes per shift, and is hardly utilising its installed capacity to cater to domestic demand.

The actual launch is likely to take a year's time, as the company is looking at tying up with distributors there. "The homologation process would also take some time.", Gill said. Homologation of an automobile is the certification by a country that a vehicle conforms to its safety and emission standards.

While Gill did not want to give out the details on pricing of the product in the overseas markets, he, however, added that "In Europe there is demand for high power and gradeability in bikes, as the roads have a gradient thanks to the hilly terrains. We estimate very low demand initially, could be as low as 500 units per year."

Back in India as well, the company is witnessing a revival in interest in electric bikes, with petrol prices going through the roof. "Footfalls in our showrooms have increased by around 200 per cent in the last two to three months. And now with the recent Egypt crisis throwing the oil prices on an upward spiral, the general sentiment is that petrol prices are not likely to come down in near future.", Gill said.

The Indian e-bike market is around 85,000 units per year, of which majority of the market lies with companies like Hero Electric, Electrotherm and Ajanta Group.

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