Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hero group signs up UK's Ultra for electric bikes

Hero Group has struck a deal with British electric vehicle company Ultra Motors to introduce electric vehicles (EV) in the country.

Ultra Motors has signed a technical collaboration-cum-joint marketing deal with Hero Cycles for bringing out electric two-wheelers. Though at a nascent stage, the entry of a large 2-wheeler group like Hero could make the market for e-vehicles a vibrant one.

As a part of the deal, Ultra would provide the EV technology and kit, while Hero Cycles would manufacture the final product which would be launched in January next year.

Hero Cycles, the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer, would be assembling the vehicles in its existing facility at Ludhiana to begin with and is expected to set-up a new facility for the venture thereafter.

The vehicles themselves would be under Hero’s brand with a co branding arrangement wherein they would also sport the tag ‘Ultra Powered’. The USP of EVs revolves around minimal maintenance cost with zero emissions.

According to Vijay Munjal, managing director of Hero Cycles, “We look forward to this constructive partnership with Ultra Motor Company to launch our unique range of Light Electric Vehicles in India. It’s a collaboration of our manufacturing strength with their technology.”

VJ Prakash, managing director of Ultra Motor India, said, “This partnership is only for 2 wheelers and in the future we would be looking to strike similar venture with other partners for three wheelers.”

Giving details of the marketing strategy, Deba Ghoshal, director (marketing) at Ultra Motors said, “Though some of our retail partners could be an existing retailer of cycles, we will be creating a separate retail network for EVs. In the first six months we would be entering north and west India and over the first one year we would be a national player.”

Starting January ‘07 the venture would establish 50-75 exclusive showrooms across 16 cities over a period of one year.

As per the plans the venture will bring out 3 electric vehicles initially with an entry level e-bike which would retail for about Rs 12,000-Rs 15,000. This apart there would be a higher powered e-bike plus and an e-scooter.

The entry level product, which would not require vehicle registration, would be targeted at kids while the ebike plus would be for institutional sales where companies with a delivery fleet would be targeted.

Source:- EconomicTimes