India is at the cusp of an Electric vehicle revolution. With increasing awareness around the benefits of electric vehicles, ever-increasing fuel price and pollution and the continuous push from the central government mean that the number of electric vehicles will sooner than later outnumber ICE vehicles in the country.
However, when it comes to two-wheelers, India’s second-largest two-wheeler company Honda Motors has been missing in action till now. The company has over 26% market share in the country and its ungeared scooter Activa is among the top sellers in the segment. That being said, it was slightly disappointing that the company hasn’t yet launched an electric two-wheeler in India.
This, however, could change soon at least to an extent. While there were rumours that the company may launch the Honda PCX as its first EV in India, however, hawk-eyed folks have spotted Honda Benly e being tested at the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) facility in Pune recently.
Launched in 2019, the Honda Benly e isn’t targeted at consumers but it is a commercial EV that is aimed to be a goods carrier or a perfect delivery partner. It comes with a flat loading deck at the back that is capable of holding up to 60 kg of load and also has an option to attach a basket at the front.
Among other features that you can count are an LED light, a digital instrument cluster, a charging socket, etc. It comes in two variants based on the motor that powers the scooter – a 2.8kW electric motor and a 4.2kW electric motor. It can offer a maximum speed of 30 km/h or 60 km/h depending on the motor that you’ve opted for.
Talking about the most important part of this scooter, the Benly e comes with two swappable 48V batteries. These batteries offer a range of 87 km and give the rider an option to swap the battery from the authorized swapping point rather than waiting for the batteries to charge up.
Interestingly, four big Japanese automakers – Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha have come together to standardize swappable batteries and replacement systems. Similarly, KTM, Yamaha, Honda and Piaggio have also agreed to standardize swappable battery packs for their products in Europe first, followed by other global markets.
This is a good sign for a country like India where the EV market is yet to gather pace. With standardized battery packs, users will face little difficulties while purchasing new batteries but also there is a better scope of getting a larger network of battery swapping stations, a much-needed solution for a country like India.