During an interview with CNBC-TV18, Rajiv Bajaj, MD of Bajaj Auto said that it is far cheaper to be wrong than to be late in entering the electric vehicle segment. Bajaj is currently looking to produce 50,000 EVs in FY23. When compared in FY22, they only produced 8,000 units.
He said, “It is far cheaper to be wrong than it is to be late. So Bajaj Auto would not like to be late to the electric vehicle party just as it was 8-10 years late to the 100cc 4-stroke motorcycle party. We are currently producing about 1000 Chetak’s every month. We are hoping from April to step that up to 2000 scooters every month. In the next financial year we hope to exceed 50,000 electric vehicles compared to 8000 that we would be making this year.”
“Will eat OATS” says Bajaj
Also read: Modified Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 motorcycle from Eimor Customs look beautiful
During the launch event of Pulsar 250 Twins, Rajiv Bajaj took a dig against the new electric vehicle manufacturers like Ola, Ather, Tork and SmartE. He said that he would rather put his trust in BET which stands for Bajaj, Enfield and TVS rather than the new electric start-ups. This is because he trusts well-established manufacturers more.
He said, “There is a saying breakfast of the champions. Champions eat OATS for breakfast. OATS stands for Ola Ather, Torkd Smart E. Indian two wheeler makers have battled the Japanese very successfully. In the 150cc above sports motorcycle category, Enfield, Bajaj and TVS have 70-80 percent share. We are not lightweight”
Bajaj’s upcoming electric line-up is not known
Bajaj has not yet revealed what electric vehicles are they planning. Having said that, they should be able to tackle the situation considering they know how the Indian market responds. As of now, they only have one electric vehicle in the Indian market. It is called Chetak.
Bajaj launched the Chetak in January 2020. However, you still do not see a lot of them on Indian roads because the electric scooter is available only in 11 states and 20 cities. Bajaj is selling Chetak through some KTM dealerships and there are also exclusive experience centres for Chetak. Bajaj was also not able to expand Chetak’s network at the desired speed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Chetak is offered in two variants. There is Urbane and Premium. The Urbane variant gets a drum brake in the front whereas the Premium variant comes with a disc in the front. Rest of the changes are only cosmetic. The prices of Chetak starts from Rs. 1 lakh ex-showroom.
Now, lets talk about the mechanicals of the Chetak. It comes with DC motor that is capable of producing a peak power output of 4.08 kW. Peak torque output from the motor is 16 Nm. Chetak has a battery pack of 3 kW. It can go up to 95 km on a single charge in Eco mode and 85 km in Sports Mode. Full charge takes around 5 hours.
Also read: BSA Motorcycles unveil Gold Star 650: Will Rival Royal Enfield 650 Twins