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Hero & Zero Link Up

Unlikely bedfellows or the sign of a new era in electric motorcycles?

Zero, the Californian pioneer of electric bikes has teamed up the Indian giant Hero MotoCorp to develop the next generation of battery bikes.

It’s a deal which could work well. Zero needs investment to develop the new bikes and Hero needs electric knowhow to engineer cheaper machines for its home market in India. That’s why Hero is investing $60 million in the Californian operation, which was founded in 2006 and is acknowledged as the market leader in electric motorcycles, having pioneered the sector and kept at it while other startups have fallen by the wayside. Meanwhile, mainstream manufacturers (Harley-Davidson apart) still haven’t launched rival e-bikes. Hero is already linked with Harley, and with Chinese electric scooter manufacturer Yadea.

Zero has been in business for 16 years, but has only built around 20,000 machines in that time, making it a minnow by world motorcycle industry standards. Although widely admired, its bikes are still significantly more expensive than equivalent petrol machines – the just-launched Zero DSR/X adventure tourer starts at over £24,000.

Could it be that the link with Hero, which is the third largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world in terms of sales and focuses on low-cost machines, allows Zero to develop cheaper electric bikes, possibly made in India?

“The mass adoption of electric bikes is almost completely dependent on realistic pricing, this linking of Hero & Zero, could well be a substantial strand in the process, along with the major Japanese manufacturers investing in the electric market. Fascinating times, indeed,” said the BMF’s Chair Jim Freeman.

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of Zero