Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) will launch its 100cc commuter motorcycle in March, Atushi Ogata, CEO & MD, HMSI confirmed to Mobility Outlook on Monday, which it broke last year.
“The price of our upcoming 100 cc motorcycle will be promising for end-consumers,” he said. The bike will be one of the most contemporary models in HMSI’s portfolio to comply with the new 2 OBD (onboard diagnostic system) norms that kick in from April.
The commuter motorbike (100 to 110 cc) segment has been the largest selling for over a decade and is typically split between the entry-level and executive commuter options.
Hero Splendor has been dominating this space for many years now even while rivals have tried hard to make a dent. With its upcoming 100 cc, HMSI will try to further consolidate its position in rural markets where it has a one-thirds share.
“A 100cc commuter motorcycle will complete HMSI's motorcycle and scooter portfolio in India,” added Ogata. Hero MotoCorp is also reportedly working on launching a new scooter. Dubbed Xoom, it is likely to debut on January 30 and will be pitted against the Honda Activa.
To that extent, the former partners will now have new products to compete with the other’s top-selling range. Time will tell how each will make a difference though both brands — Splendor and Activa — are firmly entrenched in their top slots. HMSI had overtaken Hero in terms of two-wheeler registration in September last year but the latter had risen to its position during Diwali 2022.
Electric Scooter Next Year
HMSI’s first electric scooter, slated to be launched next year, will have a top speed of 50 kmph and come equipped with a fixed battery. The company will then launch another with swappable batteries as its second electric two-wheeler offering.
Asked if the Honda Power Pack Energy would support the electric scooter, Ogata confined his response to “Maybe”. The latter has already started supplying swappable batteries to electric three-wheeler OEMs and is also running a pilot in Bangalore.
“We have requested the Japan team to work on developing a new battery charging technology and form factor for swappable batteries,” added Ogata.
The idea is to make battery charging and swapping comfortable for end-consumers.
HMSI has over 6,000 touchpoints which will offer battery charging and swapping infra once its electric scooters make their debut. According to its MD, it is difficult to work on an electric motorcycle because the batteries cannot be covered in the same way they can be on an electric scooter.
Ogata confirmed that both HMSI and its dealer network will need to make additional investments in order to go electric. The company is seeing electric mobility as an “additional business opportunity” as it is working on developing advanced ICE vehicles. “
Our first electric scooter will be based on an all-new platform, and not the Activa platform,” he said.
Flex-fuel is also high on its priority list since this is in sync with the Centre’s own initiative in this area. Ola Electric, Okinawa, Hero Electric, Ampere, and Ather Energy, were the top-selling E2W brands of 2022.