A Royal Enfield Bullet with an electric powertrain was spotted at the company’s Thailand showroom. The electric Bullet does not seem to be a job done by the company though. It seems like an aftermarket modification job. The stock, four stroke petrol engine of the Bullet makes way for an electric motor and a battery stack. These parts are combined with an automatic gearbox that drives the rear wheel of the motorcycle through a belt drive.
Although Royal Enfield has not officially built this bike, the company is exploring a future that could involve electric motorcycles. In fact, the CEO of Eicher, Mr. Siddhartha Lal has confirmed that the company is considering such options but they are at least 5-10 years away from hitting the mass market. Here is the statement he made to MoneyControl a few days ago,
We understand that the technology and business model (of electric bikes) is important. We are not going to be the first in the market with electric motorcycles. But we are starting our work a bit. We are working on different ideas and concepts. But again we are thinking of 5-10 year time frame we are not thinking about next few quarters. Right now, it’s in the investment phase. In the next 5-8 years we can look at it when battery prices come down. We are working extremely closely with Volvo. It has a large number of installed population of EV around the world. We have an electric bus which has been running around, we have been on a learning curve. We are running proof of concept, understanding the technology, it’s still a way off, the technology is super expensive.
The Indian government wants every vehicle on roads here to be powered by electricity. Manufacturers have started making preparations to launch electric cars. In the two wheeler segment, TVS Motors is readying up an electric version of the Jupiter, to be launched next year. Hero MotoCorp is also planning to launch electric two wheelers shortly. Start-ups like Ather Energy, Tork Motorcycles and Emflux Motors are also getting ready to bring electric two wheelers into the market.