When you hear the name Hero in the context of two-wheeled vehicles, you probably first think of Hero MotoCorp. After all, the company has sold absolutely massive amounts of combustion-powered motorcycles and scooters in India for years. While the heads of Hero MotoCorp and Hero Electric are both members of the same family, the two companies are themselves not related—and a legal battle has been working its way through courts as a result.
As India shifts toward more electric vehicles—particularly two-wheelers—Hero MotoCorp understandably wants to shift its focus. However, according to Hero Electric managing director Naveen Munjal, the two companies adopted a specific agreement all the way back in 2010.
Under the terms of this agreement, only Hero Electric could use the name “Hero” on electric vehicles. Both companies were free to make any electric or combustion vehicles they wanted; the main issue was one of branding. In 2010, perhaps, this didn’t seem like such a big deal—but in 2022, priorities have shifted. Complicating matters further is the fact that Pawan Munjal, who is Hero MotoCorp’s director and CEO, is Naveen’s uncle.
That’s why, in early March, 2022, Pawan Munjal officially unveiled Hero MotoCorp’s new electric vehicle brand. It’s called Vida, and while a launch was initially expected to occur in March, 2022, rumors about delays have now seemingly been confirmed. The first vehicle released under the Vida brand will be an as-yet unspecified electric scooter, to be launched sometime in July, 2022.
The new Vida vehicles will be manufactured in Hero’s Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh factory. As you may recall, Hero MotoCorp entered into a partnership with Taiwan’s Gogoro to bring the Powered by Gogoro Network swappable battery infrastructure to India. Trademark registrations in the IP India office showed that trademarks for the Gogoro Viva scooter and Gogoro Network had already been filed in 2019. It’s unclear at this point if these things are related, but we still can’t help wondering if this means we’re about to see a Vida Viva at some point in the not-too-distant future.
Does this mean that the legal kerfuffle between Hero Electric and Hero MotoCorp over which company can slap Hero branding on its electric bikes is over? According to sources familiar with the matter, and with whom Indian publication LiveMint spoke, it does not. In February, 2022, the court handling arbitration proceedings between Hero Electric and Hero MotoCorp requested that the two parties settle this dispute out of court. It’s unclear what, if anything, may have happened since that time.
However, for the moment, what we do know is that Vida electric scooters by Hero MotoCorp should launch in July. We look forward to learning the details, as well as future details about future models in the coming months.