Bookings for Bajaj Chetak are not expected to resume anytime soon
The launch of Bajaj Chetak electric scooter was an important strategic move by the company. For starters, the product marked Bajaj Auto’s rentry into the burgeoning scooter market after a prolonged hiatus, and secondly, it also marked the brand’s foray into the promising world of electric two wheelers. However, things did not go as per plan, thanks to the pandemic.
Launched in January, the Bajaj Chetak started with Pune and Bangalore as its initial markets. The plan was to expand the reach to other major cities in a phased manner but supply chain bottleneck and production halt due to the COVID pandemic appears to have hampered the Chetak’s short term prospects.
Bookings had to be closed in March / April due to the pandemic and nationwide lockdown. In June once the unlock procedure started, Bajaj had restarted Chetak bookings. But now, in Sep – bookings have been closed again. According to the official website, bookings for Chetak are closed and we don’t expect it to be resumed anytime soon.
However, Bajaj is encouraging prospective customers to register their interest via a form in the official Chetak website so that they can be updated as and when the bookings resume.
Though majority of the components for the Bajaj Chetak is sourced within the country, a few critical components are being imported from China. The factory closures in the neighbouring country earlier this year and production halt in India due to lock-down has impacted the electric scooter’s production.
The ongoing border tension between India and China may have also affected the components supply. If this situation prolongs, Bajaj will not only find it difficult to service the existing bookings but will have to abandon its expansion plans temporarily. Other EV makers in India are likely facing similar challenges that could lead to production constraints for a foreseeable future.
Bajaj Chetak and its Husqvarna sibling
While the Bajaj Chetak is facing production constraints, Husqvarna, a part of Bajaj’s European subsidiary KTM, is working on a new 4 kW electric scooter based on the same platform. Called as the Husqvarna E-01, the premium scooter is expected to be manufactured alongside Chetak by Bajaj for global consumption. If the production operations continue to face bottlenecks, the E-01’s planned launch in 2021 may get pushed further by a few months.
The Bajaj Chetak is powered by a 3.8 kW motor which derives its electricity from a 2.89 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Maximum range stands at 95 km. Feature highlights include LED headlight, digital instrument console, alloy wheels, front disc brake and smartphone connectivity.