Speculations online for years now will finally stop as Bajaj Qute is being readied for launch. Bajaj has long confirmed that the company has no plans of entering into the private car market and that the Bajaj Qute is actually a quadricycle, which made it’s debut in January 2012 at the Auto Expo that year.
Internally known as the RE60, this quadricycle is a four wheeler vehicle with capacity for upto four occupants. It has a steering wheel and roof but it cannot be called a car. We know that cause we saw these colourful buggy like vehicles that were worked upon by artists.
Bajaj Qute or RE60 was showcased to target the three wheeler auto rickshaw commercial vehicle space. The vehicle has been production ready and launched in countries such as Turkey and Sri Lanka and other emerging markets, but has faced much opposition in India both from unions and Bajaj competitors. PILs against the Qute were filed in Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu by lawyers, rickshaw unions and drivers and judgement was pending from Supreme Court of India. Though pleas are being heard, there was no definite timeline as to when these will be cleared.
That has now changed. It’s been 6 long years against PILs and cases, and MORTH (Ministry of Road Transport and Highways) has taken a decision in regard to policy to permit for use of quadricycles for commercial. It seems, quadricycles were classified as a legal and separate mode of transport in February, 2018.
Bajaj Qute or RE60 was initiated by Bajaj Auto in collaboration with Renault-Nissan alliance. Even as Renault-Nissan exited from the Ultra Low Cost (ULC) project, Bajaj Auto continued to develop the vehicle. Bajaj Qute is set to offer 4 wheel mobility but as a quadricycle. On last count, it was powered by a 216.6cc petrol engine offering 13.2 PS peak power and 20 Nm torque mated to a 5 speed sequential gearbox, capable of top speed of 70 kmph. It measures 2,752mm in length, 1,312 mm in width, 652mm in height and sits on a 1,925mm wheelbase and has a turning circle radius of 3.5 metres.
Rajiv Bajaj has in the past explained that Qute is safer than an auto rickshaw, and has been optimistic of its launch in India. It is less polluting, more comfortable and cheaper. Bajaj has also run a ‘Free the Qute’ campaign to get public support towards the sale of the quadricycle in India.