'Hero to Zero' as Indian giants join forces with electric motorcycle pioneers

Indian giants Hero join forces with electric motorcycle pioneers Zero_01


Hero MotoCorp has announced it is joining forces with electric motorcycle forerunners Zero in a deal that will see the two companies collaborate on future EV models.

The latest high-profile move by Hero - India's largest motorcycle manufacturer - to shore up its electric aspirations, the deal will result in a $60m investment being made in the California-based company.

Considered one of the pioneers of the electric motorcycle, Zero Motorcycles was founded in 2006, giving it a significant head start on a mainstream competition that is only now beginning to factor electric into future model plans.

Indeed, while the sluggish uptake of electric motorcycles has stymied or killed a number of EV-minded start-up firms, Zero has steadily gathered momentum and bolstered its range over the last 16 years, most recently with the launch of the Zero DSR/X adventure model.

With several key markets having now laid out a deadline for the full phase out of fossil fuel-powered vehicles, the race is now on to understand and develop the technology in the hope of changing consumer perceptions before electric power becomes mandatory.

As such, Zero - which recently launched its Cypher, a mobile app upgrade system that allows you to also purchase faster charging, extended range, speed and performance boosts - represents an attractive proposition for Hero MotoCorp, not least because the choice and take up of electric motorcycles in the pivotal Indian market is gathering pace.


Indian giants Hero join forces with electric motorcycle pioneers Zero_02


The deal is set to see Hero and Zero develop new models together, which should allow Zero to profit from having a foothold in India.

"This investment is not a related party transaction. No promoter/ promoter group/ group companies have any interest in the entity in which the investment is being made," the company said.

While little-known outside of Asia, Hero MotoCorp is ranked as the third largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world in terms of sales, behind only Honda and rapidly growing Chinese EV scooter firm Yadea.

Its deal with Zero represents Hero's latest move in the electric PTW market following its $56m investment into one of India's top EV scooter manufacturers, Ather Energy, while the firm will soon launch its new electric sub-brand called Vida.

Hero MotoCorp also has an agreement with American giants Harley-Davidson - whose own LiveWire sub-brand is considered a key rival to Zero Motorcycles - though their declaration of working on new models together is yet to be evidenced publicly.