Back on EV trail, Hero MotoCorp set to launch Duet

But it's not known if the launch of the electric scooter means that the Munjal family has resolved a dispute over the use of the Hero brand

January 29, 2020 / 09:46 AM IST
 
 
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Close on the heels of launches by Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor Company, India’s largest two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp is getting ready to launch its first electric scooter Duet E.

The maker of Splendor and Passion could be launching the battery powered scooter in the next few months, one of the component suppliers to the Duet E told Moneycontrol.

But it's not known if the launch of the electric scooter means that the Munjal family has resolved a dispute over the use of the Hero brand. A 2010 settlement had prevented Hero MotorCorp from using the brand for electric scooters.

Bajaj Auto has already launched the battery electric vehicle (BEV) Chetak at Rs 100,000 (ex-showroom),and TVS Motor introduced the iQube electric scooter at Rs 115,000 (on-road, Bengaluru). Both launches took place in January.

The Duet E in not a new concept having been first showcased at the 2016 Auto Expo. At that time, the specifications declared by the company was a 65 km drive range and a 0-60km per hour in 6.5 seconds. The Chetak has a range of 95 km to the iQube's 75 km.

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While it was not immediately known if Hero MotoCorp has updated the performance figures of the Duet E, the Chetak and iQube have better drive range and pick up speeds. While sale of the Chetak is restricted to Pune and Bengaluru, the iQube will only be sold in Bengaluru. Sales of both models will be extended to four-to six more cities in the next two-to-three quarters.

Bengaluru-based startup Ather Energy, where Hero MotoCorp holds more than 30 percent stake, will launch the 450X electric scooter having a drive range of over 75 km and a top-speed of 80 km per hour. Ather has also restricted its presence to Bengaluru and has recently expanded to Chennai. It will come to Mumbai by June.

“We don’t comment on market speculation. Hero MotoCorp is fully committed to driving sustainability and green mobility in the country,” a company spokesperson said.

The family dispute

One of the reasons that held Hero MotoCorp back from launching an electric vehicle of its own was a tussle within the Munjal family that controls the Hero empire. Hero MotoCorp is barred from using the Hero brand as per a family settlement agreement.

Part of the Hero empire is Hero Electric controlled by Naveen Munjal, which sells electric scooters and electric bicycles. When asked if the dispute within the Munjal family was settled, allowing Hero MotoCorp to launch a battery electric vehicle of its own, the spokesperson side-stepped the question and instead added that the company’s EV programme is on track.

“Our internal EV programme is on track and we are working towards introducing mass-market products and solutions in a phased manner. However, we would talk about specific products and their brand names closer to their launch dates,” the spokesperson added.
Swaraj Baggonkar
first published: Jan 29, 2020 09:40 am

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