Pune/New Delhi: In what comes as good news for Puneites, Bajaj Auto Limited on Wednesday announced it will start selling their newly launched electric scooter Chetak from January in Pune. The e-scooter was unveiled by Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari in presence of Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and Bajaj Auto Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj in New Delhi. Bajaj’s original Chetak was an aspiration for people and enjoyed unprecedented popularity with over a crore units sold. The scooter was launched in New Delhi and to commemorate the launch the ‘Chetak Electric Yatra’ was flagged off by Gadkari and Kant on Wednesday. Riders on 20 Chetaks will traverse through north and western India to travel 3,000 km each to a rousing welcome at Pune in Maharashtra.
The new Chetak comes with an IP67 rated high-tech Lithium Ion battery with NCA cells and it can be charged using a standard household 5-15 amp electrical outlet. The on-board Intelligent Battery Management System (IBMS) controls charge and discharge seamlessly. An elegant home-charging station is available at a nominal cost. The Chetak offers 2 drive modes (Eco, Sport) and a reverse assist mode to ensure that all the demands of a rider are satisfied. Regenerative braking via an intelligent braking system that converts braking heat into kinetic energy helps maximise its range.
The company is yet to reveal the price of the new Chetak which will be rolled out from the company’s Chakan plant and would be retailed from its Pro-Biking dealerships. The new Chetak is made at a state-of-the-art dust-free, temperature controlled facility comprising 80 per cent women workforce. The facility uses cutting edge robotic technology. The scooter has a rigid frame clad with sheet metal body panels and a tubular single sided suspension vest.
The vehicle gives a driving range of 95 km on eco mode and 85 km on sports mode on a single charge of 5 hours.
Explaining why the company has decided to enter the EV space, Bajaj cited Alibaba Chief Jack Ma’s remarks of not waiting for the environment and the policies to be ready because “when everything is ready there is no opportunity for you”.
“If you are not the first to the market, at worst second to the market, you lose the market further. It is with this attitude that we decided to move into our ‘kal’ with our electric vehicle,” he said.
Speaking at the event, Gadkari said the future of automotive industry lies in eco-friendly technology such as electric vehicles and biofuels. The government is coming out with a scrappage policy, he said, adding that it also plans to open up the country’s ports for scrap for recycling from international markets.
Kant said the future of the sector would be in ride-sharing, connected and autonomous mobility and electric vehicles.
He said the auto industry globally is in the middle of a massive disruption as the sector would move from internal combustion engines to electric ones.
(With inputs from PTI)