Hero MotoCorp debuted several interesting designs at the recent Indian Auto Expo, including the production-ready HX 250R
and prototype 620cc Hastur
, but maybe the most intriguing is the RNT. A diesel-powered utility vehicle sporting a diverse array of accessories, the RNT shared the stage with other alternative fuel designs – including the pre-production version of the Leap electric scooter
, as well as a true concept model in the fuel cell-powered iON.
Hero’s RNT is powered by a liquid-cooled, direct-injection diesel. The single-cylinder engine displaces 150cc and can be supplemented by an optional turbocharger. Hero touts the diesel’s torquey nature, with claims of 25 lb-ft peak torque at 1600 rpm with 13.5 peak horsepower at 4000 rpm. Performance data from Hero also include a 70 kmph claimed top speed (43.5 mph) and 0-60 kmph (37 mph) at five seconds.
The RNT will also offer hybrid status via an optional electric hub-mounted motor on the front wheel. Hero claims this electric motor will offer two-wheel drive functionality when used in tandem with the diesel, as well as electric-only capabilities with riders able to shut off the diesel engine.
The hub-mounted motor is not the only surprising electronic addition to the RNT, which also heralds an accessory generator that can pump out 1500 W of electricity. It also features a removable LED front headlamp, which can be utilized as a mobile lighting source away from the bike.
The rolling chassis incorporates a 37mm front fork and adjustable single rear shock. Braking package includes single disc front and rear, with the front sporting what appears to be a three-piston caliper arrangement similar to the HX 250R – another Hero debut at the Auto Expo. ABS sensors are also apparent on the RNT.
Curb weight for the RNT is listed at 300 pounds (136 kg). It includes a fuel load of 1.6 gallons – which should net quite a respectable range from the 150cc diesel. It is unclear whether that weight includes the optional electronic accessories, including the generator and electric hub-mounted motor (the latter of which there are no photographs yet).
Stylewise the RNT has an extremely utilitarian look, very Tote Gote/Rokon-esque if you ask us… It’s a step-thru-ish design, but the six-speed transmission and chain final drive lean more toward a bike designation, as do the 17-inch wheels and 120/70 front and 150/60 rear tire profiles.
Some of the most distinctive features are the broad, flat front fender and rear seat – tailor made for carrying loads. Same goes for the side-racks. This RNT is clearly intended to be a beast of burden.
The practical field applications for the RNT in India as a utility vehicle are numerous. The versatile Hero could serve, potentially, as a portable generator and work vehicle in the country’s still developing rural areas. It also has pretentions as a commuter and utility vehicle in urban areas.
“It’s a multipurpose bike for the rural market, for the small towns and also for the cities,” said Hero CEO Pawan Munjal of the RNT’s intended market during a Google Hangout at the Auto Expo. “You can actually cut off the Diesel power and go into the city on electric power.”
Munjal had earlier stated that the high-volume Indian market is in fact still growing, which has necessitated a need for even more manufacturing capacity for Hero (with its Japanese rivals, namely HMSI, also expanding production). He also cites market saturation in India at 20-25% in urban areas, with 7-10% in rural areas. There’s definite room for this little RNT to make an impact in the Indian two-wheeled market.
As far as the RNT’s status as a production model ready for export, Munjal’s intentions are clear, saying: “Sure enough it’s also going to be targeted at the overseas markets.”
Hero RNT Specifications:
Hero MotoCorp CEO Pawan Munjal with the RNT - a utility bike powered by a 150cc diesel Single, with an optional turbocharger available. The RNT can also source a hub-mounted electric motor.
Engine: Liquid-cooled, turbocharged, direct-injection diesel Single
Claimed Peak Horsepower: 13.5 hp @ 4000 rpm
Claimed Peak Torque: 25 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed constant mesh
Front Suspension: 37mm telescopic hydraulic forks
Rear Suspension: Swingarm with adjustable hydraulic shock
Front Wheel/Tire: 2.75 X 17 aluminium 120/70-R17 tire
Rear Wheel/Tire: 4 X 17 aluminium 150/60-R17 tire
Front Brakes: Multi-piston caliper, 300mm disc
Rear Brakes: Single-piston caliper, 220mm disc
Battery Main: Lead acid, 13.2 volt, 6 amp/hr, 50 CCA
Headlight Accessory: Lightweight 16 cell Li-ion, 500 CCA, 12 amp/hr Ballistic Performance EVO2, dry cell technology, can be mounted in any position.
Alternator: Electrified upgrade features 1500W of continuous electrical power, 6.5A @ 230V
Fuel Capacity: 1.6 gallons (6 Liters)
Top Speed: 43.5 mph (70 kmph)
Acceleration: 0-60 kmph (37 mph) in 5 Seconds
Length: 79.9 inch (2029mm)
Width: 29.1 inch (739mm)
Height: 42.4 inch (1077mm)
Ground Clearance: 6.6 inch (168mm)
Curb Weight: 300 pounds (136 kg)
* Special thanks for Faisal Khan and Indian motor site, MotorBeam.com, for the photo support.