Alright, in the ‘current’ situation, everybody knows that the future is going to be electric in order for the Automobile industry to be polar bear friendly. India’s two-wheeler manufacturers seem to be catching up pretty well with at least one product (scooters mostly) from their stable being electric as of now. The Japanese are lagging behind but have made big plans for the Indian market. There are a few startups and other smaller manufacturers like Ather, Okinawa, Revolt, BGauss, etc. doing good business.
Here’s what we know about Royal Enfield‘s strategy in electrifying their line-up. But, doesn’t anybody else out there think that it’s odd to see a thumper without the iconic “THUMP”, well I do. But it’s not all too bad though, since there are a few tricks up its sleeve.
Brief History :
So far we know that last year, Siddhartha Lal, MD, Royal Enfield revealed that the company is working on a complete range of “premium electric vehicles”. He added that these vehicles will feature retro styling like the company’s current models. Royal Enfield’s electric vehicle plans first came to light back in 2018, when the company’s president at the time, Rudratej Singh was quoted saying, “Royal Enfield has several projects in the pipeline and the electric platform is one of them. We are in an investment phase in the project where we have a team that is working on different ideas and concepts with a long-term focus. We will disclose our plans at an appropriate time.”
This here is the Photon, a one-off made by a Newtown-based Electric Classic Cars battery. It makes about 15.6 bhp. Electric Classic Cars haven’t revealed any torque figures, but a similar 14Kw hub motor claims ‘more than 300Nm.’ The range is claimed at 128 km and it’ll do a top speed of 112 km/h. This bike was shown to Royal Enfield’s Sid Lal and other RE engineers. His team seems to have been impressed with the electric conversion and some insights must definitely have been exchanged.
We believe the Classic 350 might not be the only model to go electric so you can expect the Meteor or even the Himalayan to follow up. Imagine the capability of the electric Himalayan with two-thirds the weight of the current Himalayan and as much capability. Details regarding the battery architecture, charging infrastructure, drivetrain, and other such information remains pretty vague as of now.
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Can Royal Enfield dominate the electric segment?
Royal Enfield motorcycles currently command more than 80% market share in the 200-500cc segment. Even though new products like Honda CB350, Jawa, and Benelli Imperiale 400 are available, Royal Enfield bikes continue to be ahead in terms of popularity and sales.
But can Royal Enfield continue its domination in the electric segment? Well, the company certainly has the resources and expertise to make it possible. However, it will not be an easy task because EVs are a lot different from their petrol-powered counterparts. The company will have to work really hard to ensure that their electric motorcycles do not lose the core essence that makes the brand ‘Royal Enfield’ so popular.
Expect the first electric motorbike from Royal Enfield to cost around Rs. 3.5 lakh (ex-showroom) and it could have a driving range close to 250 km on a single charge. It might get signature retro design elements of the Classic 350 but with a more upmarket approach comprising of the round-shaped LED headlamp, circular black turn signals, and maybe even a single-piece seat with exposed rear fender giving a bobber stance to compete with the Perak.
Royal Enfield seems pretty confident and confirmed that their plans are on track albeit with a slight delay because of the ongoing pandemic and the lockdowns, which we most certainly understand. You can expect the first model to be seen on roads in the second quarter of 2023 if not early. Let’s wait with our fingers crossed.