With the entry of high power electric scooters, Kerala is hopeful of reducing the air pollution-causing emissions by automobiles.
Hero Ultra, a venture between Hero Exports Private Limited and UK-based Ultra Motor Company announced its foray into Kerala.
Hero Cycles Limited had earlier in October 2006, signed a Technical Collaboration-cum-Joint Marketing Agreement with Ultra Motor Company, to produce and jointly market the range of "Hero Electric-Ultra Powered" electric two-wheelers in India.
Both Hero Cycles Limited and Ultra Motor Company wanted to understand the strength of the market and hence the technical collaboration was the first step towards entering the Indian market.
As a second step, in October 2007, both the companies had announced their plans to move towards a joint venture.
As a result of the aggressive retail expansion and marketing efforts, Hero Ultra has already touched a landmark figure of 15,000 units all India sale in December 2007. Through extensive marketing and below the line activities, the company aims at selling over 20,000 units by the end of March 2008.
During the last ten months, Hero Ultra has aggressively rolled out joint dealerships across twelve states and over 132 centres in North, West and South India.
By March 2008 end Hero Ultra aims to take its overall distribution to over 175 outlets.
Speaking on the occasion, Deba Ghoshal, Director, Marketing, Ultra Motor Company, said: "We are delighted to expand our range of electric two-wheelers in Kerala. We have successfully launched our products in the states of North, West India and more recently in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. This is one of our first showrooms in Kerala. We will soon make inroads in other markets within the state."
The range of seven electric two-wheelers are priced between Rs.15,100 and Rs.35,235. These vehicles are already selling at all existing dealerships.
'Velociti', an electric scooter with extra speed and 'Maxi', an electric scooter with extra range were also launched today.
Though electric vehicles are a totally new category in India, the industry has witnessed a lot of activity in the last fifteen months.
According to a 2006 survey conducted by AC Neilsen, the category potential of electric vehicles for 2007-08 is approximately 190,000 units and is projected to grow to 490,000 units in 2008-09.
Today besides the leading two players, many local and regional players are operating across North, West and South India.
However, in future, the category will witness a consolidation of four to five major brands, which are expected to contribute significantly towards marketing, sales and service infrastructure.