Hero Moto’s EV coming this year; JV with Taiwan’s Gogoro for battery swapping network

NEW DELHI: Hero Moto will be setting up a large network of electric battery-swapping stations across the country in a joint venture with Taiwanese unicorn Gogoro as the country’s largest two-wheeler company prepares to launch its first green vehicle by the end of the year.
“We will be launching our first electric vehicle later this fiscal. Hero Moto intends to build electric products, and these will be powered by the network that we develop with Gogoro,” Hero chairman Pawan Munjal told TOI as the company looks at a transition towards green wheels.
Hero’s rivals such as Bajaj Auto and TVS have already launched electric two-wheelers in the market, though concerns around a robust charging network and high retail price has meant a slow adoption.
Munjal said that Hero is working on a variety of technologies to build its electric vehicles, apart from looking at different models to make them affordable. These include making battery cost optional for customers by leasing them out and charging on usage through a subscription model.
“We intend to give different options to customers, which could include a vehicle where we charge for the battery or one where we give it out on lease. We are also learning from Gogoro’s experience in Taiwan,” Munjal said in the presence of Gogoro founder Horace Luke.
A swapping model (leased or self-owned) would mean near-instant recharge time for customers of electric vehicles.
For example, instead of looking at spending time on charging a battery, a customer would simply walk into a swapping station, take out his vehicle’s drained-out battery and replace it with a fully charged one. All s/he may have to pay is a subscription fee for the service and the payment for the electric charge.
Gogoro, founded in 2011 , has created a grid of battery swap stations in Taiwan and boasts of having more than 3.75 lakh riders and 2,000 stations on its network. It manages nearly 2.6 lakh battery swaps daily with more than 174 million battery swaps to date. It also sells electric two-wheelers.
Hero Moto and Gogoro will set up a battery swapping grid in India now which will be used by their potential customers.
Munjal said they also intend to have franchise partners and the JV can also looking at opening the charging network to rival two-wheeler brands if they have similar batteries.
Hero is working on a slew of technologies for its EV foray and the research is being carried out at its Centre of Innovation and Technology (CIT) in Jaipur and also the tech centre in Germany. It also has financial investments in Indian EV start-up Ather.

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