Bajaj has made a grand re-entry into the scooter segment with the launch of its all-new Chetak, the household name in the last decade. The familiar branding is all that is taken from the past while Bajaj is looking to once again make Chetak memorable for the foreseeable future. The all-new Chetak is now an electric scooter, making Bajaj the first internal combustion engine two-wheeler company to launch an all-electric two-wheeler in the country.
Bajaj, the second-largest motorcycle manufacturer in India after Hero MotoCorp, has taken a huge leap in the industry that's still niche. But the company isn't afraid of laying a firm groundwork for electric two-wheeler segment in the country while understanding the potential hardships initially.
"Our future is in our past," Rajiv Bajaj, the managing director at Bajaj Auto, was quoted as saying. "The fact that Bajaj doesn't sell scooters is our bigger strength. We are starting from here because there is no conflict of interest. When you enter into a new market, you don't make money from Day One. The price will not be viable from Day One, but it will add to our numbers."
Bajaj Chetak electric scooter is expected to be released commercially in January 2020. The e-Chetak will first be available in Pune and then in Bengaluru. Based on the response from consumers, a pan-India rollout will be planned. As for the price, Bajaj Chetak electric scooter could retail on the lines of Rs 1.5 lakh in the country.
At the launch of the new electric two-wheeler, Bajaj had some strong opinions about the growing eBikes segment in the country. "I prefer to start with our past that we are not a battery or steel maker, we are not a failed two-wheeler company and we are not a venture capitalist company who fund someone else to manufacture for us, we are engineers who do our own work," he said.
"We are a company with a very rich past, rich legacy. I think it is the credibility of this rich past that gives us a solid foundation for the future," Bajaj added.
The all-new Chetak
Bajaj e-Chetak has retro look, which is quite appealing to the masses as it resembles the Piaggio Vespa in some sense. The electric scooter is to be positioned as a premium product, a hint of which we get from its pricing.
To speak of its design, the electric Chetak has an all-metal body, a new LED headlight, a digital instrument cluster with a retro style to match the overall form factor of the scooter and feather touch switches.
Under the hood, the new Chetak packs a lithium-ion battery with Nickel Cobalt Aluminium Oxide (NCA) cells. The battery is IP67 rated for durability and uses a standard 5-15 amp electrical outlet for charging. Bajaj has introduced Intelligent Battery Management System that controls the charge and discharge.
Bajaj Chetak electric scooter has two modes, Eco and Sport, along with regenerative braking to maximise range. According to the company, the new Chetak has a range of up to 100 km on a single charge. There's also an app to manage various things like locating the scooter, get riding tips, set music and more. The Chetak will be fully connected and have data communication, security and user authentication.