As the demand for electric scooters in India is on the rise, established automakers that do not have an electric vehicle in the country are now looking to grab a piece of the EV pie.
The producer of the highest selling scooter Activa in India – Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, Private Limited after not launching an EV for years has now revealed its plans to introduce an all-electric scooter based on the Activa. The Honda Motorcycle and Scooter President, Atsushi Ogata, during an interview with a media outlet, divulged that an EV product from HMSI for India is currently in development. Although this new product’s launch is not expected until 2023, we have a hint that it will come equipped with swappable batteries.
Just a few days after Honda’s old partner Hero MotoCorp announced its collaboration with Bharat Petroleum to set up nationwide charging infrastructure – the Japanese motorcycle producer also announced its subsidiary Honda Power Pack Energy India Private Limited’s partnership with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) to set up battery-swapping stations across the country. The announcement from HMSI provides us with an insight that Honda India’s first electric scooter will have battery swapping technology.
The owners of the forthcoming e-scooter would be able to swap out a depleted battery for a charged one at Honda’s battery swap stations and also charge the battery at home. Customers will have two options in which they can either pay a membership fee or a small price to have their dead batteries replaced with charged batteries, or they can buy a backup battery pack that can be charged and replaced when the old one runs out.
The battery technology model that Honda is planning to use for the electric Activa seems to be inspired by the Bounce Infinity E1 electric scooter which was launched earlier this year. The EV scooter from Bounce was the first-ever electric scooter in India to come with the “Battery as a Service” model. Additionally, upon launch, the Activa electric will be competing directly with the Bounce Infinity E1, Bajaj Chetak, Ola S1, Ather 450X, and Hero Electric scooters.
Apart from the battery technology, we can expect the upcoming Honda electric Activa to feature the same design language as the current model but with a slightly more futuristic touch to signify the electrified aspect. Currently, the outgoing Honda Activa features an all-metal body and it has been the case with all the generations of Activa, but as electric scooters are already heavy because of the battery, it is yet to be seen that if the electric scooter from Honda still uses the metal for body construction or not.
As of yet, HMSI has not revealed the price for the Activa electric but we can assume that it will be in the range of Rs 1.25 to Rs 1.40 lakh with the battery pack included. While the price for the vehicle with the Battery as a Service model could be around Rs 1 lakh. Additionally, with the cost of batteries going slightly down along with various central and state government subsidies the price for the e-scooter could become even more competitive.