Earlier last month, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) officially shared its roadmap / details about its future plans for the Indian market. The company shared insights about upcoming developmental projects which involved adoption of new technologies like flex-fuel systems, etc. The Japanese brand has also set its eye on the electric mobility space.
Honda's Flex-Fuel Plans
Honda is confident in flex-fuel technologies which it possesses and plans to implement them into our market phase-wise. Honda has gained a lot of experience in this field by selling flex-fuel vehicles in Brazil over the last decade. This is also in sync with the Government of India's vision that has been pushing for adoption of flex-fuel technologies in recent times.
That said, emissions norms for India are the toughest at BS6 / Euro 5 levels and whereas emission norms in Brazil are less than Euro 4 levels which makes it easier to implement flex-fuel technology in the South American country. Honda will be introducing its first flex-fuel model in India before the end of 2024.
It is likely that Honda will work on extending flex-fuel gasoline engine applications beyond 2025. The Japanese brand will look to strengthen its product portfolio by gradually increasing the number of flex-fuel models in its lineup. Adoption of flex-fuel technologies is part of the Centre's "energy strategy direction" to reduce oil imports and enhance the agricultural sector with sugarcane that allows biofuel conversion.
Plans for Electric Mobility Space
Coming to the topic of electrification, Honda currently has no product for India in the EV space. The Indian market in the recent past has seen a massive surge in battery-powered two-wheelers, a major portion of which has been contributed by new start-ups.
Honda has gained expertise in manufacturing EVs in markets like China and Japan but conditions in India pose different challenges where climate is a lot hotter accompanied by more challenging road conditions. The company is currently studying the feasibility of how to make a sustainable business case for EVs in India. The Japanese auto giant is also mindful of importing EVs from China which seems a logical move.
The company is clear in its vision that it wants to retail 100 percent make in India EVs which could take some time. Honda currently has no supply chain for electric motors, batteries and PCUs (power control units) in India since it has never produced EVs for this market.
Partnerships with global firms
Honda has also formed multiple alliances with other manufacturers in various other markets. For instance, in Japan, it is part of a battery swapping consortium that includes Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha. In Europe, Honda and Yamaha are part of a consortium that includes KTM and Piaggio. In India, Honda has framed no such partnerships with any firm. However, it has created a battery swapping service company in Bengaluru with the name Honda Power Pack Energy India. The brand is hopeful of this entity paving the way for partnerships with other OEMs in future.