India's largest two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp has tied-up with Taiwan's Gogoro an industry leader in battery-swapping technology. This partnership plans to accelerate the shift to electric transportation in India. The companies plan to establish a battery swapping network in India as well as collaborate electric vehicle development. Hero could launch electric two wheelers powered by the Gogoro network, for the Indian market. The Gogoro Network is a hyper-efficient battery swapping platform for battery swapping and smart mobility services.
They are extremely popular in Taiwan, where Gogoro now has more than 375,000 riders and 2,000 battery swapping/charging stations, which handle 265,000 swaps a day. That density is a key selling point because riders can find a nearby swapping station quickly through Gogoro’s smartphone app. Also it is important to note that these swap stations, can serve as an amenity for businesses. They can attract customers for coffee shops, convenience stores, malls
Dr. Pawan Munjal, Chairman and CEO, Hero MotoCorp said,"Our strategic partnership with Gogoro is in line with our vision - ‘Be the Future of Mobility’ which we are bringing alive through our mission to ‘Create, Collaborate & Inspire’. Today marks another major milestone in our journey, as we bring Hero’s leadership in two-wheelers, our global scale and innovation powerhouse, with the leadership of Gogoro in the swapping business model, as they have demonstrated over the years in Taiwan and the rest of the world,"
"This partnership will further enhance the work and partnerships that we already have in our EV portfolio. This will further extend the work which we are doing at our R & D hubs at the Centre of Innovation and Technology (CIT) in Jaipur & our Tech Centre in Germany. Hero and Gogoro’s vision and commitment are perfectly aligned towards the common goal of accelerating the shift to smart, sustainable electric mobility in India, and around the world. With this new partnership, we commit to introducing a sustainable mobility paradigm, first in India and then in other markets around the world. This partnership will strengthen and expedite the Indian government’s electrification drive and will have a significant impact on India’s energy and mobility future.”
"We are at a critical stage in the transformation of urban mobility and the evolution of smart cities. With more than 225 million gas-powered two wheel vehicles in India, the need for smart and sustainable electric transportation and refueling is vital,” said Horace Luke, founder, and CEO, Gogoro Inc. “The Hero-Gogoro partnership addresses these challenges and will leverage Hero’s market strength and Gogoro’s industry leading innovations to deliver smart vehicles and refueling with Gogoro Network battery swapping."
Holy Cow! Big ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle manufacturers are taking notice of the electric vehicle revolution! Hero Motocorp sells millions of pollution two wheelers in India, but they don't offer even a single electric vehicle in their portfolio. And looks like all of this will change soon! Hero also has a majority stake in Ather Energy, another electric scooter startup and now this partnership with the world's leading battery swapping technology from Gogoro of Taiwan. Gogoro scooters are not cheap. In Taipei city, the newly launched Gogoro Viva Mix smart high speed electric scooter starts from US $2100 (Rs 1,57,000).
Do note that Hero still manufacturers petrol scooters and thus selling affordable EV's will be a conflict of interest for them. Thus we believe that Hero Motocorp will offer premium scooters for the Indian market for the next 2-3 years before getting serious about promoting EV's as a mass market product.
Also the Gogoro Network Program gives Hero Motocorp, access to Gogoro innovations and intellectual property including its intelligent drivetrains and controllers, components and smart systems. So we can expect Hero to create India specific designs with Gogoro drivetrain and electronics that will integrate with Gogoro battery swapping system. No dates or announcements have been made, so let us wait and watch.
While it is exciting to see Hero Motocorp get access to Gogoro's technology and launch EV's in India, they also have to be criticized for not doing anything to help the EV movement over the last decade. They never invested in RnD in the EV space, never launched an EV. They were happy to sell millions of pollution causing ICE vehicles and only when we saw the likes of OLA Electric and Bajaj announce huge plans for electric scooters, they sprung to life.
We at PluginIndia will remain skeptical of these ICE vehicle manufacturers, who are more than happy to sell pollution vehicles and not work towards any real change.