Hero Electric showcased many new vehicles at the Auto Expo 2020 and among them was the funky Hero Electric AE-3, which many saw as the potential first ‘trike’ when launched in India. The AE-3 looks very similar to the Dofern D1 from China, and Dofern is a brand of Taizhou Doufeng Vehicle Co. Ltd. based in Zhejiang, China.
Taizhou Doufeng Vehicle Co. Ltd. has an account on Alibaba, where it provides wholesale buyers with the option to use their own branding on the Dofern D1. The company has a professional design team that can help bulk buyers apply their logo to the vehicle.
The Dofern D1 measures 1,980 mm in length, 760 mm in width and 1,340 mm in height. It has a 1,460 mm and a 155 mm ground clearance, and its seat height is 810 mm. The tilting electric three-wheeler is made in multiple specifications. The top-end variant comes with an LG3200 Lithium-ion battery pack having a voltage of 60 volts and an Amp-hour rating of 160 Ah. A 5 kW/15.9 Nm motor powers the top-end Dofern D1, and its top speed is 99 km/h and the range is 200 km.
LED DRLs, full-LED double convex mirror headlamps, LED tail lamps, three disc brakes, 7-inch TFT LCD instrument cluster and 36-litre underseat storage space are some of the key features of the Dofern D1. Magic Ash, Haojue Blue, Piano Black, Rose and Drilling White are the colour choices of the tilting electric scooter.
Hero Electric AE-3 electric ‘trike’ not launching anytime soon
The situation prevailing with the Coronavirus has had an effect on the timelines of electric vehicle product programs and Hero Electric is no exception.
In a chat with Sirish Chandran of Fast Bikes India on Instagram.com, Naveen Munjal, MD of Hero Electric, had confirmed in April that premium products (high-speed vehicles), presumably including the Hero Electric AE-3, have been put on the backburner and will come back under the spotlight when consumer sentiment improves.
Hero Electric showcased many premium models at the Auto Expo 2020. Are the plans to launch them confirmed yet?
There is going to be a segmentation of the market. There’s going to be a mass market and the premium market. At this point, we have products up to a certain level in the premium end of the scale and not beyond that, which is an extremely small market. So the products that we showcased at the expo are at the higher end of the market and not the mass market. Majority of the volume and our push is going to remain in the mass volume.
So, we will be launching them at some point of time but what we believe is that, with the COVID-19 situation right now, there is an opportunity of a different kind and the market is going to move in a slightly different manner as we are seeing people are locked up in their homes and businesses are not working. And if the first quarter is going to be a washout and this is going to be across the spectrum, people are possibly not going to do luxury and lifestyle spending anytime soon. So even though we are ready with our plans to launch, we may not launch them right now and push it back when the market sentiment is better.Naveen Munjal, Managing Director, Hero Electric
The AE-3 showcased at the Auto Expo was powered by a 4 kWh battery and comes equipped with a powerful 5.5 kW motor. The electric trike offers a range of 100 km in a single charge and can achieve a top speed of 80 km/h. The battery can be charged to its full capacity in five hours. The Hero Electric AE-3 also gets features including digital instrument cluster, mobile charger, GPS, real-time tracking, geo-fencing, walk assist and more. It also features a unique self-standing gyroscopic stability that comes with auto balance park switch, which lets the trike to stand on its own when parked and a reverse assist system.
The Hero Electric AE-3 also gets premium features with a quad-telescopic forks set-up at the front and twin, gas-charged spring suspension at the rear. All three wheels are fitted with disc brakes. The headlight is mounted on the apron with LED daytime running lights on either side. The seat is a large single unit and offers backrest support for the rider to enhance comfort.
Unlike other products, Hero will be pricing the AE-3 higher, in the range of Rs 1.75 to Rs 2 lakh due to the premium hardware and powertrain spec. Hero Electric also seems to be targeting the B2B segment with its electric trike, and the company could conduct the launch in 2021.
Doesn’t matter if its petrol or electric drive, trikes are exciting products. Mainstream player Yamaha dipped its toe in the three-wheeled segment with its premium Niken model, which is built on a Leaning Multi-Wheel Chassis.
In March, Switzerland-based Micro Mobility unveiled its three-wheeled electric scooter Microletta that offers a range of 100 km in a single charge and reach 80 km/h. What makes the Microletta interesting is customers (in Europe) don’t need a separate driving license to use it and can be operated with a car driving license. The three-wheeled scooter is powered by dual batteries that are placed under the seat and can be charged in four hours.