Indian motorcycle brand, Royal Enfield Motors has decided to ramp up its electric vehicle journey by forming a new vertical for the EV business and pumping in significant investments as the leading motorcycle manufacturer seeks to launch its first electric motorcycle by 2025.
“Over the past 6-8 months, we have made investments in EV space in terms of creating physical infrastructure for testing of vehicles and associated preparedness. We have also been hiring good talent for our technology centres in India and UK. Overall, we have been intensely focusing on the EV space,” B Govindarajan, CEO, Royal Enfield Motors, part of Eicher Motors Ltd, commented.
The company, a leading brand in the 250cc and above bike segment, has also started testing some prototype EV products in different parts of the world and India. But, Royal Enfield is not in hurry to launch electric vehicles.
“Being a pioneer in motorcycle manufacturing, it is easy for us to take the aggregates, assemble the same and launch it in the market to be ahead of others. But we would like to understand the buyer requirements in this segment completely before rolling out new products. Because, Royal Enfield is known for offering motorcycling experience, not just products alone. Our objective is to come out with differentiated product offerings in the EV space,” said Govindarajan.
While the company is likely to finalize its major investment program for EVs soon, both Royal Enfield Motors and its parent Eicher Motors have applied for the PLI scheme (under the Champion OEM category), indicating a total investment of ₹2,000 crores over five years.
Globally, India and other major two-wheeler markets are gradually shifting towards electric mobility options. It has been established that an electric two-wheeler is significantly cheaper (over the life of the vehicle) than ICE-powered vehicles. With fuel prices increasing, the delta only favours electric vehicles, particularly in the mass two-wheeler segment.
However, the potential for electrification of the premium motorcycle space appears to be in its nascent stage. It is gathered that companies are working on new technologies to meet key consumer requirements such as longer range, higher performance, extreme durability, charging network as also cost-effectiveness in the high-end bike segment.
Royal Enfield has also been strengthening its resources to focus on developing future technologies and electric powertrains for the proposed EV transition.