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‘We will be unveiling our first electric vehicle some time soon this year’: Hero MotoCorp

In an interview with The Financial Express, Pawan Munjal, Chairman & CEO, Hero MotoCorp, revealed the launch plans of the company’s first electric vehicle.

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Hero MotoCorp will launch its maiden electric vehicle (EV) soon. Upbeat about the prospects for electric mobility, chairman & CEO Pawan Munjal speaks to FE’s Varun Singh on the rollout of EVs, global expansion, as well as the battery swapping policy announced in the Union Budget. Here are the excerpts.

Could you shed light on your EV agenda?

Sustainability is close to my heart and I am personally driving this change at Hero MotoCorp. Our EV project is progressing as per plans, and the Chittoor manufacturing facility in Andhra Pradesh is gearing up to produce electric vehicles. We will be unveiling our first EV some time soon this year. We plan to take our EVs to markets across the world and have drawn up a long-term roadmap for our EV journey.

Do you think EVs will be a major growth driver for the two-wheeler segment, going forward?

Innovation is not a mere slogan at Hero MotoCorp; it is a way of life. In keeping with ‘Be the Future of Mobility’, our vision, we aim to continue leading the personal mobility space. The battery-swapping policy, one of the most significant announcements in this year’s Budget, is a potential game-changer for the transition to EVs. The future clearly belongs to EVs and we are glad to see the government push for their adoption, as it resonates with our company’s vision and our commitment to the cause of sustainability.

A sneak peek at Hero MotoCorp’s upcoming electric scooter

How is the Indian market going to benefit from Hero MotoCorp’s collaboration with international brands like Harley Davidson and Gogoro?

Hero MotoCorp has been built on relationships, be it with customers, employees, dealers, supply-chain partners, or with global distributors, investors and shareholders. I have always stressed the importance of partnerships and collaborations. In keeping with our mission to ‘Create, Collaborate and Inspire’, we have recently forged new collaborations. 

Hero MotoCorp is the sole distributor of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and its branded merchandise in India. As per the agreement with Harley-Davidson, we will also develop a range of premium motorcycles, which will be sold under the Harley brand name in the Indian market. In order to provide sustainable mobility solutions to our customers, we have also forged a strategic partnership with a smart mobility innovation company called Gogoro Inc from Taiwan. Gogoro Inc owns the world’s largest battery-swapping network and through this partnership, Hero MotoCorp will bring Gogoro’s battery-swapping platform to India and other global markets. 

Being among the first companies to see the segment’s potential, Hero MotoCorp invested in an EV start-up, Ather Energy, in 2016. We currently hold a 37% stake in it. We are making these investments to move faster and grow in ways that deliver value to our stakeholders.

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In 2021, the firm posted its highest ever export sales for any calendar year. What are your plans for the global markets?

We clocked our highest-ever sales volumes for the global business in the calendar year 2021, selling more than 2,89,000 units of motorcycles and scooters, with a robust growth rate of 71% over 2020.

The volumes in our global markets in 2021 were in line with our estimates, which factored in the logistics and supply chain constraints on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our new strategy for the global business, R4 — recalibrate, revitalise, revolutionise, revive — has already started yielding results. In a short span of time, Hero MotoCorp has expanded its footprint to over 43 countries in Asia, Africa, South & Central America and the Caribbean. We are well on track to meet our target of garnering 15% of the company’s total volumes from our global business by 2025.

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