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Hero builds its first electric motorcycle

Indian manufacturer Hero, one of the world’s biggest moto-companies, has just released its first full-sized electric motorcycle, with retail launch expected at year’s end.

The new Hero AE-47 is a halo product, although it doesn’t have the same tire-shredding specs as machines like the Harley-Davidson LiveWire. Instead, its emphasis is affordability; its expected retail works out to roughly $2,300-$2,500 CAD.

For that price, you typically expect a bike that’s basically a hopped-up moped, with batteries instead of a gas tank. The AE-47 is sort of a combination of sensibility and capability. The specs listed by NDTV range from the unimpressive (nine-second 0-60 km/h times), to decent (85-km range in the bike’s “Power mode,” 160-km range in “Eco mode”). Are those city mileage estimates, or highway estimates? No word yet, and none of the Indian moto-publication seems to know if this bike has regenerative braking (which would greatly extend its city range, but likely drive up the price).

There’s also a bit of confusion over top speed, but it seems to be set around 85 km/h.

The AE-47 has a 4 kW electric motor (roughly 5 hp), and a 48V/3.5 kWh battery. The li-ion battery recharges in four hours, supposedly (again, no word on whether that requires a quick-charger, but probably not).

The bike is supposed to have cruise control, a reverse gear, and keyless access, says AutoCarIndia.

It’s all interesting stuff, as there’s been a recent surge in the entry-level electric market, at least in overseas markets, for battery bikes that can do a bit more than the early scooter-esque designs, with their limited range and lack of power. It’s also interesting that Hero says it’s outsourced some of the AE-47’s components to overseas suppliers, to keep costs down. Is this the first sign of cracks in the foundation of the Indian motorcycle manufacturing empire?

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