Exclusive: LML to make electric comeback with e-Hyperbike in Sept ’22: Eyeing top three spot in India by 2025 with bikes & scooter

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LML is coming back and while that has been known for some time TOI Auto now has some big and exclusive details about the company’s return. For a large number of Indians, the mere mention of LML (Lohia Machinery Limited) would bring in loads of nostalgia. LML Vespa was a popular brand in India for a long time and the company sold vehicles in India in partnership with Piaggio and Daelim. However, as the scooter market shrunk in the early 2000s and the LML motorcycles failed to make an impression the company ran into trouble and finally shut down its Kanpur plant in 2018. Now though, LML is planning a comeback in the Indian market in the form of an electric two-wheeler company.

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Yogesh Bhatia, CEO, LML Electric

TOI Auto spoke to Yogesh Bhatia, CEO, LML Electric to understand what the company’s plans are and what products it will pit against the likes of Ather, Ola Electric, Simple Energy and Hero Electric among others. LML Electric plans to be one of the top electric two-wheeler companies in India by 2025 and they have some unique and interesting products lined up.

New Identity

The return of LML is being orchestrated by SG Corporate Mobility (SGCM), which acquired the rights to the LML brand in late 2021. The new entity will be known as LML Electric. This company will operate in the space of electric two-wheelers along with Detel, which is also owned by SGCM. While Detel will focus on low-speed products aimed at tier 2 & tier 3 locations, LML Electric will focus on urban mobility and premium products.
LML Electric is presently in discussion with a few state governments for a site to set up a new greenfield facility. The announcement will be made in late 2022 and the facility is expected to be operational sometime in 2024. Till then, LML Electric will produce its vehicle in India at the former Harley-Davidson plant in Bawal, Haryana. At this plant, the company presently has a capacity of around 200,000 units per year.
For technology and products, LML Electric has entered into a collaboration with eROCKIT, Germany. The German company will provide the core technology and platforms for LML’s products. The Indian company on the other hand will work with eROCKIT to develop/ customise products to suit Indian requirements. When asked if LML is just a manufacturing partner, Yogesh said that LML Electric is an engineering-intensive brand and will never be a brand that puts stickers on products of other companies to sell them in India. “Our products will not just be tailored but will also be engineered and developed for Indian conditions”, he added.
LML Electric also plans to export its vehicles and will also manufacture products for eROCKIT in India and ship them to other countries.
LML E-Hyperbike is expected to bear similarities with eROCKIT of Germany seen in the video

Products: Hyper bike, e-bike, electric scooter & a performance motorcycle!

LML Electric has an aggressive and unique product portfolio lined up for the Indian market. The company will unveil three products on 29th September, which is also the 50th anniversary of the LML brand. The three products include the LML E-Hyperbike, e-bike and an electric scooter. The first launch in India will be the E-Hyperbike, which will be a premium electric motorcycle offering pedal-assist. Yogesh declined to give us exact details of the motorcycle right now but did clarify that the E-Hyperbike will have different specifications than the German-spec eROCKIT and that the Indian product has been in the making for about five months now.
Based on the German product’s specs, we estimate the E-Hyperbike to offer around 120 km on a single charge with a pedal assist. The motorcycle is expected to have a top speed of close to 90 kmph with about 20 hp of power. Deliveries of the LML E-Hyperbike will start around January 2023. During the same time, LML Electric will also commence the deliveries of an electric cycle (e-bike). This will be followed by an electric scooter, deliveries of which will start around August 2023. While details of the scooter were not shared it will operate in the premium space and could be a direct rival to the likes of Ather 450X and Ola S1 Pro.
In an exciting announcement for high-performance motorcycle enthusiasts Yogesh told us that in 2024, LML Electric will launch a performance-oriented electric motorcycle in India. Although this product will come at a premium, Yogesh promised the product will offer best-in-segment value and exciting performance.
Yogesh also pointed out that LML Electric has no plans of catering to the low-speed and low-cost electric vehicle segment. “We will offer premium products with unique and smart features but at a price that will simply make our customers go wow. Despite the high-value equation our customers can expect new-age and smart technologies as EV for us is not just electric vehicles but ‘Empowered Vehicle’ “, he added.

Swappable Batteries – Whoa!

Interestingly, LML Electric will adopt a swappable battery model for its products to start with. Yogesh didn’t disclose any specifics here but he told us that the company is working out a unique solution for the customer wherein s/he might not have to worry about charging at all. He added that “Range anxiety and lack of charging infrastructure are major hurdles in the adoption of electric vehicles and we aim to address this issue with our new concept”.
This is quite interesting because, at a time when except Bounce almost all-electric two-wheeler companies have moved towards the fixed battery model, LML Electric is going the other way. While we aren’t sure what the unique solution is, it could be a combination of fast-charging coupled with home delivery or location-based delivery of swappable batteries.

Aggressive Growth Plans

LML Electric has very aggressive growth plans considering it will go up against the likes of Ola Electric, Ather and Simple Energy. The company aims to be one of the top three electric two-wheeler companies in India by 2025. This translates into phenomenal growth within a span of a little over two years. As far as products are concerned, we do believe that LML Electric can shake up the market as the landscape is presently a bit bland with almost everyone making scooters only.
The premium positioning also appears to be doable from facts known up till now as the focus for LML Electric is purely on premium positioning. The company has also entered into an agreement with SPM Engineering, Italy for the design of its products to ensure their products stand out from the competition.

Questions

What does remain to be seen is how well will the swappable battery model work in the premium space. In addition to addressing the range anxiety, this model also brings in a set of unique problems. These include maintaining consistency of battery quality during replacement, logistics cost, and manpower costs among many others. However, Yogesh is confident that the unique solution LML Electric is working on will be the best for customers at the time when they launch their products. Such is the company’s faith in its products and business model that they’ll start sales with an extensive network across the country. While he didn’t give us a number, Yogesh told us that beyond large cities the company will also focus on smaller regions as their products despite being premium will not be priced out of the reach of an average Indian buyer.
In a nutshell, LML Electric has big plans and does seem to have the basic ingredients also in order. While the success of a business depends on many factors, the Indian electric two-wheeler space is surely turning out to be exciting and it’ll be interesting to see if LML Electric can successfully combine nostalgia with smart technology without outpricing themselves. All this while facing stiff competition from some established rivals. It might not be an easy journey for LML Electric but it does reflect the potential of India’s electric two-wheeler market. Electrifying times ahead!



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