Hero MotoCorp and TVS developing hybrid scooters for Indian market

Monday 04 February 2013, 11:23 AM by

Hero MotoCorp and TVS Motor Company, two of the leading Indian two-wheeler manufacturers, are planning to introduce a new segment featuring hybrid scooters in the domestic auto market in the near future. The upcoming hybrid models are expected to get ready for commercial launch within the next 9 to 12 months in the country.

Hero MotoCorp, the country's largest two-wheeler manufacturer, unveiled its Hero Leap scooter at the 2012 Auto Expo held in New Delhi. TVS Motor Co. has not yet revealed the name and details of its scooter, but along with Hero Leap, the two hybrid models will be first of their kind in the country. Further, Hero and TVS are expected to be joined by other two-wheeler makers, such as Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki, in developing similar scooter line-up. The companies will be looking to benefit from the 'National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020' introduced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which promises to keep prices of electric vehicles market competitive. The Indian government is expected to soon announce subsidies on purchasing of electric vehicles to the domestic buyers.

Informing about the development, a senior government official was quoted as saying, “We're working on electric and hybrid scooters and plan to do trial marketing on hybrids within the next one year. We're optimistic about the need for such things given the pollution levels, maybe the government should mandate the sale hybrid vehicles to some level in the cities.”

At present, a number of two-wheeler manufacturers offer electric scooters for the Indian auto market, such as Hero Electric and Electrotherm. However, the market share of electric powered two-wheelers is limited with annual sales revolving in the range of 50,000 to 60,000 units. The exorbitant price tags, limited range and charging issues explain the small sales recorded by the segment. Some prominent Indian car makers are also active in the electric vehicle manufacturing, such as Mahindra-Reva and Toyota Kirloskar Motor. Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki have also showed interest around electric vehicles. Hence, the future of electric powered automobiles certainly looks promising.

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