What if I asked you what the most popular vehicles were globally? If you guessed a car, like the Toyota Camry, you’d be correct. Well, sort of. The Toyota Camry (and its variants) is only the most popular car on four wheels. The Honda Supercub, an underbone motorcycle, handily beats it, just not in the United States or Europe. Motorcycles are cheaper to buy and cheaper to maintain, so they sell like hotcakes, even in places where people don’t have much money.
The #1 vehicle by production numbers doesn’t have a motor at all. It’s the Flying Pigeon bicycle, sold in China over decades. Once again, ease of purchase and ease of maintenance wins the day and gets the greatest numbers. Even today, bikes outnumber cars by a wide margin. And, as wealth rises in developing countries, many people stick with bikes, scooters, and motorcycles because they’re cheaper and often more convenient and it’s already safer to operate them because they’ve been the norm for so long.
Another thing that favors electric bikes: bad roads. I’ve seen a number of people on social media from India who say that they’re skeptical that electric luxury sedans can hold up to the roads. Potholes, dropoffs, and places where the pavement is just gone are a lot easier to avoid or go through on two wheels than on four. This is true in so many other developing countries and even the poorer parts of the United States, so I’m definitely not trying to pick on anyone.
With low incomes, rough roads, and general familiarity with two-wheeled vehicles, we shouldn’t be surprised that the makers of electric bikes and electric motorcycles have their eye on the Indian market.
LML Electric’s Return
LML Electric is taking advantage of these market conditions to bring more electric scooters to India. From what I’ve read, LML used to work with Vespa to manufacture gas-powered scooters in India, and they’re working toward returning to the market next year, with some announcements coming later this year. They’ve rebranded as LML Electric because all upcoming products will be battery-powered, but they want people to remember when they were a part of the market and many copies of their scooters traveled the roads of the subcontinent.
The first step is obviously to get some production going. Various websites report that they’re negotiating with state governments to get tax breaks and other advantages to open up a plant. They’re also planning to revive a plant that used to build Harley-Davidson motorcycles, which should help bring jobs back to the area.
What Will The Bikes Look Like?
We don’t know for sure, but one clue is that LML recently partnered with eRockit, a German electric motorcycle manufacturer. The bikes will be customized to fit the differing needs of the Indian market, but their design will start as an eRockit. Several other e-Rockit based models will follow, tailored to the needs of different market segments.
It’s also worth noting that the September 2022 debut date aligns with the 50th anniversary of LML’s founding. So, it should be an exciting time to get the company going again.
Featured image by eRockit.