Home/ Auto News / Honda India to roll out first electric scooter in March 2024

NEW DELHI : Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India Pvt. Ltd, the maker of the largest selling scooter Activa, will be launching its first e-scooter in March 2024 and follow it up with another product, that will have its battery-swapping pack, Honda Power Pack-e, the company’s outgoing president for India Atsushi Ogata said.

The fixed-battery product will be built on its existing internal combustion engine platform, he added.

The announcement comes at a time homegrown electric two-wheeler startups are witnessing significant growth. EVs have an over 5% share in India’s two-wheeler market. TVS Motor Co., Hero MotoCorp and Bajaj Auto have already launched their electric scooters, but only TVS has achieved significant scale.

Honda is building its battery swapping business despite the uncertainties over the lack of a swapping policy, and aims to take a city-by-city approach to set up 6,000 battery exchangers (swap station) to power both two and three-wheelers, including those developed by its partner original equipment manufacturers. The swap stations will be set up at dealership touchpoints, or e-workshops, as well as near metro stations and fuel stations.

Honda’s electric two-wheelers will be produced at a new production line at Narasupara, Karnataka, where it currently manufactures the Activa and Shine motorcycles. The company will move the production of Activa to a new assembly line in Gujarat, he added.

While Honda is aiming to scale its EV production capacity to 1 million units by 2030, it will install an initial capacity of 600,000 units by next year. It will source battery packs and motors from suppliers to begin with, but will eventually localize components, designs and manufacturing at its e-factory. Honda’s EV foray will be led by first setting up the infrastructure, ensuring profitability and sustainability of the business, amid high battery prices, he told reporters on Wednesday.

“You may think we are late (for EVs), but we aren’t. It is not very easy to create EVs with a sustainable business structure. We have to make it profitable and sustainable," Ogata said, adding: “We will have to gauge volume expectations depending on the price we set for different consumers, given that battery prices are currently too high. What the incentives are at that point in time will also play a role."

“The message from us is on the charging infrastructure. From a consumer’s point of view, without infrastructure EV will be a disaster," Ogata explained.

“We do not feel any impact of EVs on Activa sales as the decline in sales happened due to covid-led factors like work from home, but now with schools, universities and offices reopening we see demand coming back and growing. The new Activa with smart key has many backorders," Ogata said in response to Mint’s queries. “Intentionally we are controlling our dispatches to manage stock levels as we transition from OBD-I to OBD-II (on-board diagnostic) norms. Therefore, you may see some dip in sales but it is in line with our plans."

Honda is also working on a new 125cc scooter nameplate and a 350 cc motorcycle for the festive season. It will start mass production of its 100cc motorcycle, Shine 100, by the end of April and is currently testing out its Benly scooter with swappable battery.

Alisha Sachdev
Alisha Sachdev is an assistant editor with Mint based in Delhi. She reports on the auto and mobility sector, with a special focus on emerging clean mobility technologies. She also focusses on developing multimedia properties for Mint and currently hosts the 'In A Minute' series and the Mint Primer podcast. Previously, she has worked with CNBC-TV18 and NDTV.
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Updated: 30 Mar 2023, 12:45 AM IST
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