Why India will love electric motorcycles

This tweet

led to this

and so to this.

The Indian motorcycle market is:

  • the world’s largest in 2017
  • price sensitive (duh)
  • brand conscious (the Splendour has ruled for nearly three decades on its brand, selling 600K units last year, yes 600K)
  • power output is not a priority
  • reliability really matters
  • torque matters (see below)
The typical TVS XL use case. 3.5hp, 79cc. Somewhere in Ulsoor, Bangalore, May 2017.

Torque, reliability and cheapness are sweet spots for electric motorcycles.

India’s lack of a power obsession will also help, by squeezing more range out of batteries. Other markets tend to treat anything with less than 50hp as a starter motorcycle, not a ‘real’ one.

But hey, first world problems. After all, that’s an ~80cc, 3.5 hp TVS XL in the image above. Good luck doing actual work with a 1.6litre V-twin.

The real challenge will be range, and availability of charging points that are sufficiently convenient, especially in Tier 2 to rural markets. These are huge but extremely price sensitive markets, where a motorcycle is almost always purchased for a professional need.

An electric equivalent of the TVS XL; i.e with a 200km range, luggage carrying capacity and 4 hour recharge with a running cost 30% lower would be a great example, IMO, of what would rock the market.

Also, an electric Splendour. About time something other than its decals were upgraded.

It’s far too early to comment on the current market but IMO on a five to eight year horizon India will be a brilliant market for electric motorcycles.