Contrary to what recent developments had indicated, and as we had expected, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India stated that the Honda PCX electric scooter will not be brought to the Indian market. This electric scooter was displayed in concept form at Auto Expo 2018. Then, very recently, the production version, which is already available internationally, was showcased to dealers in the country.
So what is HMSI's EV plan? Speaking to Moneycontrol on the sidelines of the Activa 6G Indian launch, Minoru Kato, President, CEO and MD, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, stated that the company will import an electric vehicle from China. Kato said:
We will start testing an electric vehicle in India that will be imported from China. It won’t be the PCX though.
Kato also confirmed that the electric vehicle may not enter the Indian market any time soon. He added:
The testing and studying of the EV will go on for about a year. Based on that feedback we will decide about electric vehicles.
There are 14 Honda electric scooters on sale in China currently, and which of them is going to be brought to India is yet to be known. The company will most likely try to manufacture the product to benefit from government subsidy schemes (FAME-II and others) and offer the product at competitive prices.
Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India also wants a suitable infrastructure in place before it introduces the electric scooter. Below is what Noriaki Abe, Chief Officer, Honda Motor Company, said at EICMA 2019 in November:
As an electric vehicle model we have it within Honda, but we need infrastructure to make it possible. We have to talk to the government to prepare for electric mobility. Even in Japan we are still talking to the government. We are preparing for electrification but we need infrastructure.
Kato had stated in June last year that the company is also open to collaborating with rivals for battery swapping and charging infrastructure.
While Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India is still planning to start the studies for electric vehicles in our market, rivals have already started to introduce their respective products. Bajaj Auto became the first major two-wheeler manufacturer to enter electric two-wheeler segment with the launch of the Chetak electric scooter on 14 January 2020. TVS Motor Company is expected to reveal its first electric vehicle, a Creon concept-based electric scooter, by the end of the current fiscal. The test mule of the TVS electric scooter was spied for the first time this week.