Is Royal Enfield Working On An Electric Bike?
28 November 2019 - RideApart
Slow and steady wins the race.
Royal Enfield is a brand that respects its history. In fact, it was doing retro bikes before retro bikes were even considered cool, in large part because it never really quit in the first place. Fashion and design alike seem to have a certain cyclical nature to them, so this strategy seems to have served Enfield pretty well. With the unqualified success of the Continental GT 650 and Interceptor 650 on the world stage, the company is now cautiously reaching forward toward electric bikes, as well.
In an exclusive interview with CNBC TV 18, Royal Enfield CEO Vinod Dasari confirmed that the firm is indeed pursuing electrification.
"Royal Enfield's UK tech center had rigged up an existing product into an electric motorcycle and it's fantastic, I have driven it myself," Dasari told CNBC.
However, he also cautioned that this doesn't mean motorcycle enthusiasts should necessarily expect an electric Royal Enfield entry any time soon. Dasari says the company is taking its time with exploring how best to adapt to electric technologies, and that it may take two to three years before the company is ready to introduce a proper electric bike to market.
"[We are] looking to maintain the Royal Enfield DNA in the electric segment. Who knows, you may have a retro-styled electric Royal Enfield," Dasari said.
The current production plan for all Royal Enfield models, Dasari said, is to introduce one new product or variant to market each quarter for the following five or six years. Although India is still the world's largest motorcycle market, even that country has experienced something of a downturn in sales.
Royal Enfield isn't alone, but the storied brand has definitely seen a decrease in volume. Manufacturing facilities are currently running at 50 to 60 percent of capacity. That's also one of the driving factors behind Royal Enfield's recently released "Make Your Own" online configurator that Jacob told you about earlier in November 2019.
Riders and reviewers alike have mostly been enthusiastic about the 650 Twins, praising their improved build quality over some historic Royal Enfields of yore. If the company takes the same kind of care with one or more retro-styled Royal Enfield electric motorbikes, they'll probably go over very well amongst the global motorcycling community.