Motorcycle makers have made some splashy announcements about the effort to electrify bikes, but nowhere near as many as carmakers have. Bike makers are taking a slow and steady approach to electrification, but Gogoro and Hero MotoCorp are now teaming up to bring EV scooters to the biggest two-wheel market of all.
Gogoro’s battery-swapping network and electric scooters are coming to India under a partnership with Hero, a name you may recognize as one of the world’s biggest bike makers. We may be well on the way to EV bikes!
To give you some point of reference for the scope of India’s bike market, I’ll cite Gogoro, which estimates that there are currently “225 million gas-powered two-wheel vehicles” in the country. That is a mind-boggling number of bikes.
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That’s why this is important; we’re not just talking about PHEV or BEV motos to replace those ICE bikes. We’re talking about electric two-wheelers that may solve the issues of range and recharging, plus a network to support them.
We could be seeing the precursors to electric bikes you can ride until the battery is nearly depleted, only to then stop at a charge station, grab another battery or two and swap them for those under the seat (or where gas tanks go, maybe.)
The companies also noted that they would be collaborating on electric two-wheeler development, besides putting a Gogoro battery network in place:
The companies will establish a battery swapping joint venture to bring Gogoro’s industry leading battery swapping platform to India and will collaborate on electric vehicle development to bring Hero-branded, powered by Gogoro Network vehicles to market.
A system like that has the potential to be even faster than refueling with combustibles. It would truly be a technological marvel, but I suppose it’s unfair to say “would be” since such systems are already being used in Taiwan, Gogoro’s home country. Similar EVs also already come from SEAT and Silence in Spain.
But imagine a Honda bike with a system like this, or a Triumph. Maybe even a Harley. Thankfully, we may not have to imagine it for long, since the big bike makers are working towards a standardized modular battery system. Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki have joined a consortium to develop swappable batteries for their bikes that will work across all brands rather than being proprietary.