New Delhi: Hero MotoCorp Ltd., the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters, is foraying into electric vehicles with a new brand as part of its plan to switch to cleaner technology.
Hero MotoCorp will launch its first electric vehicle on July 1 under the brand ‘Vida’ and begin deliveries later this year, according to a statement on Friday. The electric model will be produced at a factory in the Southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The company will also set up a $100 million global sustainability fund to help entrepreneurs on environmental, social and governance solutions.
Getting gasoline two-wheelers off India’s roads is crucial to curb one of the world’s most toxic air as scooters and motorcycles pollute more than cars, and account for 81% of the total vehicles in the nation. Even though India has vowed to turn net carbon zero by 2070, electric vehicles make up just 1% of the nation’s passenger vehicle sales annually. India has fallen behind other major economies like China, where EVs will account for 25% of passenger vehicle sales by 2025, according to estimates from BloombergNEF.
The new branding comes after Hero Electric — a separate company headed by a nephew of Hero MotoCorp’s Chairman Pawan Munjal — sought court intervention to stop the bigger rival from using the namesake brand for its upcoming electric vehicles, according to local media. The company cited exclusive brand rights over all types of battery models based on a 2010 agreement that divided family businesses, according to the reports. Hero Electric withdrew the petition against Hero MotoCorp last month, the Economic Times reported.
Hero MotoCorp is up against Ola Electric Mobility Pvt., backed by SoftBank and Tiger Global, which has built the world’s biggest two-wheeler factory and rolled out its electric scooter Ola S1 last year amid delivery delays. Another competitor Bajaj Auto Ltd. has said it will begin deliveries of its battery scooter Chetak by this month, and is investing $40 million to build annual capacity for 500,000 electric vehicles at its new plant. –Bloomberg