Honda Benly e Spied In India: Will Honda Launch This Or An Activa Electric?
While the Honda electric scooter has been spied testing, the outcome may not be as straightforward as you think. We explain
The Benly e, Honda’s electric delivery scooter for Japan, has been spotted testing in India. Does it mean Honda will launch it here? Well, the answer may not be as simple as you think. Allow us to explain:
Why Is It Here?
More than the electric scooter itself, we believe Honda India is primarily testing its swappable battery system, called the Honda Mobile Power Pack, in the Benly e. The Japanese brand is likely to use this swappable battery pack on its upcoming electric scooter for India. If Honda manages to establish a strong network of swap stations, it will be able to compete with upcoming initiatives like the Ola Hypercharger network and the Hero Gogoro swap stations. In the Benly e: I and the e: I Pro, the power pack can offer a range of 87km if ridden at a constant speed of 30kmph. On the other hand, the range goes down to 43km, albeit at a higher cruising speed of 60kmph in the Benly e: II and e: II Pro.
Will Honda Launch A Delivery Electric Scooter In India?
So far, Honda has always played its A game in the consumer segment in India, so the Japanese brand might just try to diversify in the near future. One could also draw parallels with the Honda Super Cub, which initially started off as a single-seat moped with a luggage rack at the rear and then went on to become a people mover, and later, a funky lifestyle retro-moped.
According to the Electric Vehicles Policy 2020, the Delhi Government has announced that 50 percent of the fleet belonging to companies in the delivery service sector will have to go electric by 31 March 2023, and 100 percent by 31 March 2025. So, given the push from the government, going the B2B (business to business) route seems to be lucrative enough for a big player like Honda to jump in. Moreover, the trademark for the Honda Benly e has already been registered in India, so this also gives an additional impetus for Honda to bring this electric scooter here.
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However, Honda India will have to price the Benly e very competitively if it plans to make any kind of dent in this burgeoning segment. This will prove to be challenging for Honda as the components will have to be heavily localised. It would mean extensive investment in part sourcing and local manufacturing.
Or Will Honda Launch the Activa E?
So instead of going the tedious B2B route, Honda could continue to stay in its lane: the consumer segment. Honda already offers the PCX Electric globally. It has even patented the scooter in India. However, if Honda were to launch the PCX Electric in India, it would end up being priced at quite a premium. This strategy may not work well for Honda as India is just warming up to the concept of feature-packed electric scooters, which is currently dominated by the Ather 450X.
So, Honda could look at the more affordable spectrum of the electric scooter segment that’s dominated by the Bajaj Chetak and the TVS iQube Electric. It already has the Activa in the petrol-powered segment, so it may exploit the Activa’s famed familiarity factor and come up with something similar, albeit electric. This would be just like how Hero MotoCorp is planning to launch the Hero eMaestro, which is based on the petrol-powered Maestro range.
So, a Honda Activa Electric with the trademark swappable battery system may work wonders for the brand trying to tap into the electric segment. It would be a fitting answer to the hugely promising Ola Electric Scooter.
Either way, it will still be some time, probably two years, before we see an electric Honda on our roads. Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Images of the Honda Activa 6G used for representation.
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