LML – a popular home-grown scooter brand of yesteryears – is set to sail overseas in an all new avatar with its current owners firming up plans to commence sales of electric two-wheelers in the European Union starting next year.
SG Corporate Mobility, which acquired the LML brand last year, is readying for launch three products – an e-bike, a hyperbike and electric scooter – in 2023. While the first two products will also be on sale in India, the primary target markets will be countries in the European Union and the United States. SG Corporate Mobility makes consumer electronics.
“There is a massive demand for e-bikes in Europe and the US. We want to leverage India’s cost competitiveness as a manufacturing base and ship out semi-knocked kits (SKDs) for sale overseas,” said Yogesh Bhatia, managing director & CEO, LML Electric. LML Electric is targeting revenues of Rs 300 crore in its first year of operations from domestic sales and exports.
The group company is investing Rs 350 crore to kickstart operations at LML Electric. Discussions are underway with investors to raise an additional Rs 400-500 crore to expand operations, with the funding round expected to close by March 2023.
Currently, LML Electric has a contract manufacturing agreement with Saera Electric Auto to produce electric two-wheelers at Bawal, Haryana. The facility was formerly used to assemble cult American brand Harley Davidson motorcycles, which had taken the plant on lease. It was purchased last year by Saera for an undisclosed sum after the American motorcycle maker made suddenly shut manufacturing in India.
Saera currently assembles its Mayuri range of e-rickshaws at the plant. “We are starting off at Bawal. We are in talks with several state governments to set up our own manufacturing unit, which we intend to commission in the next 18-24 months,” said Bhatia.
LML Electric is in talks with the state governments of Haryana, Rajasthan and Madhya for setting up a manufacturing facility.
“We acquired the brand last year. But it is a completely new company”, he said. The original LML – incorporated as Lohia Machines in 1972 was engaged in making synthetic yarn machines. In 1984, the company, led by Deepak Singhania, signed a technical collaboration with Italy’s Piaggio to make scooters. In 1999, Piaggio terminated the partnership. LML was the second largest scooter maker in India at the time. LML permanently shut operations in 2018 after multiple attempts to revive the business failed.
India’s electric two-wheeler segment has seen increased interest in recent months from mainstream players such as Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto, TVS Motor Company as well as new-age start-ups like Ola Electric with central and state governments announcing subsidies to bridge the price gap with petrol-powered models and encourage customers to adopt cleaner mobility solutions. While sales were still low at about 230,000 units in the last financial year, industry executives expect growth to accelerate over the next few years given the size of the domestic market. India is currently the second largest market for internal combustion engine two-wheelers in the world registering sales of 13.5 million units last fiscal.