India’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, Hero MotoCorp, on Wednesday answered lingering doubts of its in-house technological prowess in the wake of its split with Japan’s Honda Motor Corp in 2010, by unveiling a first-of-its-kind diesel powered hybrid motorbike, named RNT, and a petrol-electric hybrid scooter, Leap.
This is the first time Hero has showcased products that move away from the Honda legacy. The company has rapidly expanded its research and development wing in the last three years and tied up with AVL from Austria, Engines Engineering and Erik Buell Racing.
Hero also unveiled a sports edition of its 150cc mobike Xtreme, and a 250cc sportsbike HX 250R, which at a notch above its existing ZMR, would be its most powerful offering in the Indian market.
“The diesel mobike shows the hunger for innovation and out-of-the-box thinking at Hero,” said Pawan Munjal, managing director, Hero MotoCorp. “Nobody has attempted anything like this earlier. We believe the diesel motor will give exceptional fuel economy but that is not its USP.”
The RNT concept is powered by a 150cc turbocharged diesel engine and a 16-cell lithium-ion battery. Designed for rural and semi-urban areas, it develops 13.5 bhp power and 35 Nm torque and will be offered in a two-wheel drive technology as well.
The scooter Leap is a pre-production version of the concept showcased in the 2012 Auto Expo, and uses lithium ion batteries and a 125cc petrol engine. While the company did not give out power output details, but said the scooter can run up to 340 kilometres in one full tank of fuel and fully charged batteries.
It is likely to be priced on the higher side, and will debut in international markets before coming to India.
“Except the RNT, the four products displayed here would be launched in 2014-15,” Munjal said. “Hybrid is an expensive technology so it would not be a very inexpensive product. We will venture into western European markets first with this before bringing it to India. I expect it to do better outside than here. Except the Xtreme sports edition, all the products are based on new platforms.”
The company also unveiled new versions of its bikes Karizma, ZMR, CBZ Extreme The company also unveiled new versions of its bikes Karizma, ZMR, CBZ Extreme and its scooter Pleasure, which would be launched within the next 2 months.