What are Honda’s plans with EVs in the Indian market?

When you think of Honda, you immediately think of massively popular vehicle offerings into the Sedan and SUV space; names that have, over the course of the past few years become vital movers and shakers of a Japanese car brand built on the principles of trust, integrity, and ultimately- value for money.

Names like Honda Civic, City (modeled again and again on versatility and ever-evolving car design) that didn’t take long to become household names in India.

Today, frankly speaking, when one thinks of classic sedans that zipped in the urban clutter of India, you tend to get nostalgic by remembering the classic City model that dominated the roads in the 2000s.

Over the years, Honda has gone on to offer runaway successes in the Indian market with the likes of Accord, Civic, City, and Jazz.

But that’s not all!

Then Honda’s been ever so big in the two-wheeler space, with one of the biggest market updates from of this soon-to-draw-to-a-close 2021 suggesting that Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, sold no fewer than 2.64 million units as of  March this year. With this, the Indian market became number 1 again for the trust Japanese automaker in the Oceania region.

But against that narrative, a question that has often beckoned one’s attention is one pertaining to the future of the brand in India’s EV space. Just where does the EV factor weigh in Honda’s plans for India.

For starters, it helps to know that Honda’s futuristic plans for getting into the EV space in India are essential, at this moment, tied to a few key areas. One is a new facility in the realm of battery sharing and the other, a dependable electric scooter that is yet to be launched in India.

But having said that, let’s first understand some of the former. For now, it helps to know that as of December 1, 2021, Honda set up a purely brand new subsidiary by the name of Honda Power Pack Energy India Pvt Ltd, which besides offering a massive support system to the OEMs operating in the EV sphere will also help in carbon neutrality, such a huge aim for companies in India.

To understand what Honda’s first-of-its-kind battery sharing subsidiary’s offering in India, it helps to note what the revered Economic Times had to say:

“It is planned to start battery sharing service for electric auto-rickshaws (E-auto) from the first half of 2022 in Bengaluru, Karnataka and expand operations in other Indian cities in a phased manner,” the statement said.

In addition to the battery sharing service, the new company will closely work with multiple vehicle OEMs- those that aim to integrate Honda’s battery pack into their vehicles.”

So how will this pan out for those in the vehicle OEM space? How do they stand to be benefitted from Honda?

By expanding vehicle OEMs, applications, and service areas, it aims to onboard more drivers, which will further enhance service convenience, so shared the company’s sources in the country.

However, having said that, the next big step for the EV space in India sees Honda working ceaselessly to launch an electric scooter, which will be ready not before the next fiscal year.

While models like Honda Activa and Shine have already found a sweet spot among the Indian consumers, the yet-to-be-launched electric scooter, one reckons, will find focus soon as the firm is ready to roll out its EV magic on two wheels.

As a matter of fact, at the conclusion of the festive season of India in 2021, Honda was already working with its dealer partners to understand the feasibility run of the said scooter, which in layman terms refers to a test or trial run that helps cover divergent areas associated with the manufacturing and design- technology, among the salient features.

Atsushi Sogata, meanwhile, from the Honda stable further cemented the company’s stance on the product yet to arrive in the Indian market: In-depth details are yet to be finalized but “we have made a commitment to launch (EV product) within the next financial year”, he noted.

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