Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India is beginning to test a new electric scooter for the Indian market. According to CarAndBike, the company has previously said that it has no plans in place for electric scooter development. Still, its mega-rival Hero MotoCorp is doing it, so HMSI has to make sure it doesn’t get left behind.
Will it be something akin to the Benly-E? You remember, those rugged delivery scooters that the Honda mothership in Japan is rolling out to Japan Post, starting in March 2020? HMSI is keeping the details of its electric scooter development mostly under wraps for now, only confirming that it is, in fact, happening in the first place.
“We are bringing one of our electric scooters to India which will be basically used for study. We will be doing a market survey and feasibility survey with this model and decide on the roadmap of future EVs of Honda in India. It's very difficult to set the next future line-up, but the survey will be starting in the next three to four months.” HMSI senior vice president of sales and marketing Yadvinder Singh Guleria told CarAndBike.
It’s all speculation at this point, but the Honda Activa has long been a household name in India. It’s well-known among the public in general, sort of like everyone in the U.S. recognizes a certain famous Italian scooter name, even if they don’t ride anything with two wheels.
Back in June 2019, HMSI CEO and president Minoru Kato said the company was looking to partner with others to develop electric scooters for India, and that the company felt that 2025 was too early a deadline to completely switch to electrics.
Just over a month ago in January 2020, the Tribune reported that Kato said that work on an electric scooter for the Indian market was already underway in Japan. While no official model designation was given, the publication speculated that the Activa brand name is so well-known, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense not to use it.
A feasibility study is one minor step in the direction of HMSI offering an actual electric scooter for sale across India, but it’s a necessary one. Hurdles like infrastructure, performance, and range necessary for broad electric scooter appeal still remain across the country, as they do elsewhere in the world.