Luna, the country’s first eponymous brand that gave wings to urban India in the 1970s, is making a comeback in an electric avatar. Luna joins the other popular two-wheeler brands of the licence era — the Chetak and the Lambretta — which are making a return in the modern electric version, even as they retain part of their retro design.

The e-Luna, which is set to go on sale in November this year, will retain its USP of an affordable, easy-to-manoeuvre, step-thru bike, said Sulajja Firodia Motwani, founder and CEO Kinetic & Power Solutions.

“The e-Luna will be an affordable, convenient, and lightweight model. It will be a modern, stylised version of a moped — we have retained the same values which defined the Luna,” she said. It shall address the fast-expanding e-commerce delivery segment and also be used for customised deliveries.

Most old brands, be it the Jawa, Yezdi, Vespa or Chetak, which have made a comeback in the recent past, have got a complete makeover with new technology and styling. “The old brand may not resonate with the new-age buyers unless done so,” said Ambi Parameswaran, founder,

“Auto reviving iconic brands is something that has been done all over the world,” he said, citing instances of Volkswagen Beetle, BMW Mini Cooper, and Ford Mustang. “But in all these successful revivals, the old brand was given a makeover. In that respect, Bajaj Chetak is an interesting approach,” he said.

The e-Luna is one of the three e-two-wheeler brands that Kinetic plans to bring as it seeks to make a strong comeback in a segment it vacated after its partnership with Mahindra & Mahindra ended in 2014. The company has been selling a low-speed e-scooter for a year now under the Kinetic Green brand.

On Wednesday, the company launched the Kinetic Zing High-Speed Scooter (HSS). With a range of 125 km, it claims to be the best in class. The scooter is available in the company’s 300 exclusive dealerships. Later in the year, it will introduce the Kinetic Flex, which will target the urban youth. All three models will be high-speed.

The e-two-wheeler segment in India has been growing at a fast pace on the back of government subsidies and high fuel prices. Nearly 250,000 units were sold in FY22. It is expected to grow to 700,000 units by the end of FY23, Nagesh A Basavanhalli, executive vice-chairman of Greaves Cotton, said in a recent interaction with Business Standard.

To tap the burgeoning demand, Kinetic is commissioning a new plant at Supa near Pune that will have a capacity to produce more than 25,000 two-wheelers a month. Its existing facility in Ahmednagar can produce up to 7,500 two-wheelers a month. “Electric is the future. Five years from now, no one will buy an ICE two-wheeler. We have entered the market at a good time,” said Motwani.

Kinetic Green has made an initial investment of Rs 50 crore in its two-wheeler business and plans to invest more than Rs 400 crore over the next four years.

According to Motwani, having learnt the lessons the hard way, Kinetic Green shall steer clear of motorcycles and stay focused on and mopeds — the segments it understands well. Kinetic was side-lined in India’s two-wheeler market in the early 2000s. It will also have an asset-light strategy.

“We hit a rough spot in the 2000s when the market moved to and motorcycles,” said Motwani. Its JV with Honda prevented it from bringing motorcycles and on its own.

When the JV ended, it had to start from scratch. But by then, the market had scaled up a lot and the dynamics had changed. “We became a sub-scale player and that impacted our financials. In order to re-engineer, we had to re-structure the group,” Motwani. The JV with M&M — that stitched with hopes of making a comeback — didn’t work out and ended in 2014.

The electric mobility trend has given the group a new lease of life and Motwani wants to make the most of it. “We are looking at a Rs 800-crore top-line this year. This was the top line when we joined hands with Mahindra. We are looking ahead to a strong future. We are on our feet and growing,” she said.

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