Hero bets big on electric

Written by Ronojoy Banerjee | Ronojoy Banerjee | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 15 2010, 06:28am hrs
Sensing the growing potential of electrically-powered vehicles, New Delhi-based Hero Electric, a wholly-owned electric two-wheeler subsidiary of the Munjals-promoted Hero Group, plans to use the electric platform to roll out three-wheelers and other speciality vehicles.

Managing director Naveen Munjal told FE that due to the rising awareness of electric vehicles, the company is exploring the feasibility of rolling out electric three-wheelers and other speciality vehicles since it has been one of the pioneers of the electric platform in the country. Munjal added any launch could take anywhere four-five years.

For the electric two-wheeler segment, one of our main target audience are the youngsters...it gives us an opportunity to evolve as a primarily two-wheeler maker to much more in the future, Munjal said. He added that though electrically powered vehicles had high growth potential owing to low maintenance costs, electric two-wheelers could be the main volume drivers due to practical viability.

The company is also scouting for business collaborations with other global electric two-wheeler makers to step up its exports to European and Latin American countries. We have seen that globally, there is no single electric two-wheeler maker that has been able to create a niche...it gives a company like ours an opportunity to enter those markets, he said.

Munjal, who is also president of the Society of Manufactures of Electric Vehicles said, that in current practice most electric batteries in India are a mix of lead acid, which makes the batteries heavier and bigger in size. He said that lithium electric batteries reduce the weight of the vehicle and is also one-third the size of lead acid batteries.

The total life of these lithium batteries is more than three-times than the lead acid ones," he said. However, typically a lithium electric battery costs four-times more than a lead acid one.