Electric motorcycles have become a permanent fixture in the industry, with almost all manufacturers expressing interest in developing new platforms. Some manufacturers have even formed partnerships to streamline development and leverage manufacturing capabilities. For example, KTM and its sister companies have a longstanding partnership with Bajaj, which is expected to result in the development of electric motorcycles in the near future. Zero Motorcycles has also partnered with Hero MotoCorp in India to sell their bikes in the Indian market.
These partnerships often start with distribution agreements but often evolve into collaborations in the development of new models. Hero MotoCorp and Zero Motorcycles are no exception. Investor reports reveal that the two companies are working together to develop a new electric platform. The platform is expected to give birth to at least four different motorcycle models. The collaboration will be carried out in two phases, with the first phase involving the release of two high-performance models with different body styles. The second phase will focus on mid-tier electric motorcycles.
Hero MotoCorp already has experience with electric powertrains through its sub-brand Vida. The collaboration with Zero Motorcycles aims to create bikes with similar technology and performance as Zero's lineup but at a more affordable price point. Hero secured a $60-million investment in March 2023 to kickstart the development of the new platform.
It's important to note that the term "high-performance" has a different meaning in the Indian market compared to the US and Europe. In India, motorcycles with engines larger than 200cc and outputs exceeding 25 horsepower are considered high-performance. Despite this, Hero and Zero's partnership is still exciting, although the resulting models may not match the performance of Zero's current lineup.
Hero MotoCorp has ambitious plans to expand its electric offerings. Currently, the only electric model in the market is the Vida V1 scooter, but that is expected to change soon. Hero's presentation showcases a range of models targeted for launch, including mid-tier offerings, mid-premium models, and premium and high-performance models. The development will begin with an electric mini-bike in the mid-tier segment, followed by off-road and street-focused models in the performance and premium segments.
Once Hero's electric models hit the market, they will likely face competition from bikes like the Ultraviolette F77, a popular electric motorcycle in India. Although the F77 has a modest power output of 36 horsepower, it is still considered a performance-oriented machine. The launch date for the collaborative platform between Zero and Hero has yet to be announced, but it is speculated that the initial models will be unveiled in 2025, with subsequent models launching in 2026 and beyond.