Taiwan's Gogoro to plug into Hero's scooter market in India

Market leader to launch range of two-wheelers powered by battery sharing infrastructure, which would be available in multiple cities

Taiwan's Gogoro to plug into Hero's scooter market in India
A rider charges the battery of her electric scooter at a Gogoro charging station in Taipei. File photo by Reuters.

(ATF) Taiwanese electric scooter maker Gogoro will partner with India's Hero MotoCorp to offer its battery-sharing infrastructure in the world's largest motorcycle market.

Gogoro, which sells motorcycles in Taiwan and is known for its battery distribution network for riders, will build battery swapping platforms in India's scooter market in a joint venture with Hero, the world's largest producer of two-wheelers.

The two companies will also launch Hero-branded two-wheelers powered by Gogoro's battery sharing infrastructure, which would be available in multiple cities in India.

The two companies hope to take advantage of a pickup in scooter purchases following a deep decline in sales due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"India's two-wheeler industry saw its worst downturn in 45 years in 2020 as volumes fell 18% year-on-year amid a weakening economy and big regulatory changes," Nitij Mangal, an equity analyst at Jefferies in Mumbai, said.

Those regulatory changes should benefit makers of electric scooters, as the most important development is the Bharat Stage 6 emission standards, aimed at internal combustion engines and reducing their production of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen and particulate matter such as carbon soot.

ELECTRIC PRIORITIES

Hero chairman Pawan Munjal told Reuters in an interview that electric vehicles are one of the priorities for Hero, which currently does not offer any products that run only on electricity.

Horace Luke, Gogoro's founder and chief executive, said it would take time for consumers to adopt electric vehicles. But with the scale of Hero, he said, pricing and supply chain complexity would be reduced.

"We will set up a joint venture between the two companies to bring Gogoro's swapping technology into India and set up swapping infrastructure across the country, and then we will take it to the rest of the world," Munjal said. "We know the landscape, we know the customers, we know the requirements ... We will move very, very fast." 

Munjal declined to provide details about the partnership plans such as timeline, sales target or how many battery swapping stations would be built, saying the two companies are working on the specifics.

Partly funded by investors including Singapore's Temasek and Japan's Sumitomo Corporation, Taipei-based Gogoro in recent years has launched scooter-sharing services in Europe and battery sharing infrastructure in Japan.

At home, albeit being the largest electric scooter maker, Gogoro has for years trailed major players such as Kymco and Sanyang Motor in a competitive market long dominated by lower-priced petrol scooters despite government subsidies on electric vehicles, market data show.

With reporting by Reuters

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Taiwan Gogoro India Hero MotoCorp scooter battery electric vehicle