Yes folks, it’s the scooter manufacturer with as many comebacks as a boomerang that are once again making noises about restarting, LML of India. The company last ceased production in 2017 when an attempt to keep their head above water with a three-wheeler, the Buddy, derived from the tooling of the Vespa P-range scooters, failed. It was sad day, the end of the last geared-scooter factory as we know it closing its doors.
A couple of years later in 2019 we wrote about the LML factory in edition 17 of ScooterNova magazine, as part of our ‘Lost Vespa Factories’ article. LML had first become a licensed producer of Vespa scooters in 1984 after signing an agreement with Piaggio of Italy. Their rocky journey ever since included an agreement with Daelim of Korea, entering the motorcycle market (without too much success), closing their doors in 2006; a 4-stroke geared scooter, refinancing more than once, before finally ‘suspending operations’ in 2017.
India’s first Vespa licence, Bajaj, relaunched their ‘Chetak’ scooter in 2019 with an electric motor. The classic looking, steel bodied scooter was originally their version of the Vespa VBB and the most popular form, of two-wheeled transport in India for many years.
LML Electric Pvt Ltd
Presumably the Chetak has persuaded the current owners of LML to try again, but will it be a retro styled scooter?
Those current owners are SG Corporate Mobility Pvt. Ltd (a consumer electronics business), who launched an ‘affordable’ 15mph scooter in India in 2020. SG Corporate apparently purchased the LML brand from the Singhanias (the family which owned LML) in September 2021 with CEO and MD Dr Yogesh Bhatia heading the new company, named LML Electric Pvt Ltd. According to an article at motownindia.com, published in October 2021, “LML Electric will cater to the savvy middle class with smartly styled e-scooters and e-motorcycles with the latest technology, again at affordable prices.”
Bhatia said, “We feel that the LML brand is entrenched in the hearts of so many Indians since 1972. I feel that a brand that was launched by the Singhania family with so much effort needs to grow now with focus on electric two wheelers. LML electric will represent not only the latest in technology but also in style and design.”
He continued, “We are in talks with an Italian design house for this electric scooter. A separate team will be looking after LML electric two wheelers. We have a global ambition with this LML electric brand. We shall be targeting overseas business in a big way. As an electric two wheeler brand, I want to see LML reach out to global markets,” adding, “Our vision is to become part of India’s EV revolution and to fulfil this vision it was important that we bought the LML brand which has a legacy of more than 50 years.”
What will it look like?
There also a suggestion that, like Baja, LML Electric may choose to ‘ride on nostalgia’ to help their initial products. However, as the photos in edition 17 of ScooterNova magazine showed, their old factory in Kanpur was not in good shape with discarded scooters and parts covered in many layers of dust. They have all been sold, Ricambio Rapido handling a lot of the European deals with much also going to Egypt. Some tooling was also allegedly sold, so where will LML Electric production take place?
According to an interview with Bikeindia.in a week ago, LML has now partnered with Saera Electric Auto, which formerly manufactured Harley-Davidson in India, to produce LML Electric vehicles at their manufacturing plant in Bawal, Haryana.
From a British scooterists’ point of view, I suppose the real interest will be when LML Electric launch their first scooters and what they will look like. Aside from that there are plenty of electric scooter manufacturers on the market for anyone who wants a silent ride with modern styling, along with a few options for those interested in converting a classic scooter to electric too (we tested a classic Vespa conversion from Retrospective Scooters in edition 9).
Bhatia has suggested that they have employed designers in Italy for their new scooter and that they will be entering the global market first, before the domestic one. He has also stated that 29 September 2022 is the launch date, so we’ll wait and see what happens…
** ScooterNova is an independent scooter magazine, published bi-monthly in the UK. Edition 29 (Jan/Feb 2022) is available now from all good scooters shops, or have it delivered directly to your home via our secure online shop here.