Bajaj Auto’s new Chetak e-scooter outsold TVS Motor Company’s iQube in March 2020
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Bajaj Auto has temporarily stopped the production of its new Chetak electric scooter. As of now, the Indian government’s lockdown protocol extends to 3 May 2020 but certain automakers have started operating their facilities with limited resources and proper guidelines from concerned authorities. Meanwhile, several automotive dealerships are on the verge of going out of business permanently.
Even if India’s business sector returns back to normal from the start of May, Bajaj Auto might still be unable to continue production of its new EV. This is because Bajaj imports the Chetak’s electric powertrain from Bosch in Germany, which is currently at the early stages of relaxing its lockdown measures. Furthermore, experts state that logistics will take a longer period to recover from the pandemic, depending on various nations’ plan of action. Hence, automotive supplier networks would remain weak even if plants are allowed to work in full capacity.
In a customer service statement, Bajaj Auto has shared that Chetak orders made by 29 February 2020 would be delivered only in September at the brand’s dealerships in Pune and Bangalore. The order of delivery will depend on booking sequence, document verification and payment date. Customers can make the final payment once the respective order reaches the dealer.
The ongoing nationwide lockdown measures were implemented towards the second half of March 2020. Since then, automotive sales have dropped drastically. Still, Bajaj Auto managed to sell 91 Chetak units from the EV’s limited dealership network. In comparison, TVS Motor Company could sell only 18 iQube units. Both the TVS iQube and Bajaj Chetak are direct rivals to each other and come at a similar price range. Either e-scooter was launched in January.
Bajaj’s new Chetak EV is available in two variants: Urban and Premium. Ex-showroom prices stand at Rs 1 lakh and Rs 1.15 lakh, respectively. The electric scooter is powered by a 3kWh IP67-rated lithium battery that can charge from empty to full in about five hours (using a standard wall charger). It packs an output of 4.8kW or roughly 6.44bhp and 16Nm of torque. On a full charge, the Bajaj Chetak can travel more than 95km. There are two rides modes: Eco and Sport.
India’s EV market witnessed a 20% growth in FY2020 with almost 1.56 lakh units on the sales chart. Out of this, more than 1.25 lakh units were electric scooters, especially low-speed models which do not require a rider’s licence.