One of the oldest and largest electric vehicle makers in the country, Hero Electric on Monday launched two new e-scooters -- Optima ER and Nyx ER (Extended Range) -- expanding its range of heavy duty and high-speed e-scooters in India.
The Optima ER and Nyx ER are now available across company's dealerships, priced at Rs 68,721 and Rs 69,754, respectively.
"We want to offer the best of Hero Electric products to all our customers. One feedback that we have constantly received was the range anxiety associated with e-scooters, and with the Nyx ER and Optima ER, we are addressing that issue by offering a package that is high on performance and usability," said Sohinder Gill, CEO, Hero Electric India. "I am confident that customers will appreciate these additions alongside the FAME II benefits that have made our range even more affordable."
Electric mobility has been a major thrust area for the government who is keen on reducing the transport sector's dependence on imported fossil fuel. India imports nearly 84 per cent of its crude requirement every year.
In last few months, the government has taken a number of steps to encourage EVs in the country, at the same time discouraging the sale of conventional vehicles. In Budget 2019, a slew of incentives including income tax deduction on the interest on any loan on electric vehicle, lower import duty on a host of components and investment-linked income tax exemption for setting up manufacturing for solar electric charging infrastructure and lithium storage batteries. Further, import duty on many electric components such as e-drive assembly, on-board charger, e-compressor and charging gun has been scrapped.
That was followed by the much anticipated reduction of GST on electric vehicles and chargers from 18 to 5 per cent on July 27.
In view of that, Hero is planning to step on the gas on expansion. It plans to take up 615 touchpoints presently to 1000 by end of 2020 and make the brand accessible even in the most interior parts of the country. The company has extensive investment plans over the next three years to ramp up production capacity of its electric scooters to 5 lakh units annually.
It has also announced the inauguration of its new corporate office in Bengaluru as part of its expansion plan in southern India to diversify its operations and strategically plan the new consumer touchpoints in the country.
Nearly 7,59,000 electric vehicles were sold in India in 2018-19 with electric three-wheelers accounting for a majority at 6,30,000 units, followed by electric two-wheelers at 1,26,000 units and electric cars at just 3,600 units.
One of the early adopters of electric two-wheelers have been startups such as Zomato, Swiggy, Ola and Uber that provide last mile connectivity within cities and are well positioned to take advantage of the low operating cost of these vehicles. Hero is also targeting this segment.
The two scooters launched on Monday are just the start of what the company says would be a number of new launches to cater to myriad fleet requirements coming in from the B2B sector, thereby expanding its offerings for the commercial segment.