Bajaj Auto launched the all-new 250cc Pulsar duo of N250 and F250 recently. And while the two motorcycles were supposed to be the attention grabbers at the event, what also caught the additional limelight was an interesting comment by the Chairman of Bajaj Auto, Mr Rajiv Bajaj.
While speaking about the sudden spike of new players in the electric mobility market of India, Rajiv Bajaj took a rather clever dig at the biggest of the new players emerging in this space. To answer a question about the biggest names to look out for the future of electric mobility, Rajiv Bajaj said that he is placing his bet on BET (Bajaj-Enfield-TVS).
He said that the tremendous track record of these three homegrown two-wheeler majors will be paving the path for electric scooters and motorcycles for the future.
OATS for breakfast?
Now what added spice to this answer was the comment which followed the former. Rajiv Bajaj added that these three BET players are champions of the Indian market, and champions eat OATS for their breakfast. By OATS, he elaborated that it is the acronym for Ola, Ather, Tork and SmartE – the new big emerging players in the electric two-wheeler industry. He further commented that the three players of BET are not as lightweight as the new emerging vehicle startups are projecting about them. Finally, he also said that the biggest of them all, Ola, is yet to deliver on its huge promise and hasn’t commenced the deliveries of the much-hyped S1 electric scooter.
This statement was a cheeky response to a claim made by Bhavish Agarwal, the head of Ola Electric, who criticized the established two-wheeler makers for not making significant moves for transition to electric two-wheelers. Instead, the companies are busy carrying out the rather less-efficient and expensive plan of making their two-wheelers compliant to BS6 emission norms. On a deeper introspection of this war of words, one thing is evident that the new electric two-wheeler startups are making a much faster movement of fueling the electric revolution, by offering new generation electric scooters faster than the established two-wheeler makers.
Bajaj Chetak EV sees limited sales
It throws light on the Bajaj Chetak as well. Bajaj Auto had the great advantage of being the first-mover in the electric two-wheeler space with the Chetak electric scooter. With the new electric scooter, Bajaj Auto also had the opportunity of cashing on the nameplate of Chetak, which is immensely popular among Indian consumers.
Sadly, due to lack of marketing and a very limited product availability in just two cities of Pune and Bengaluru has made the Bajaj Chetak a big flop. Also, in terms of mechanicals and features, the new generation electric scooters from homegrown startups promise much more than what the Bajaj Chetak offers to the table, and that too, at a fraction of the asking price of the latter.
Bajaj Auto did not make any new announcements for the Chetak or any other new electric two-wheeler at the launch event of the new Pulsars. However, the top boss believes that the strong foundation built by Bajaj Auto in all these years will help the company to cement its position in the new segments whenever it intends to do so.
Now, only time will prove whether the new generation products from the new electric vehicle startups are capable enough to be the new market leaders, or the established makers will pip them with their stronger arrival in the electric two-wheeler space.