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Last Updated : Jul 23, 2018 05:16 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Bajaj Auto could return to scooters but this time in an electric avatar

the company said it is committed to launching an electric two-wheeler before 2020

Swaraj Baggonkar @swarajsb
 
 
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Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director of Bajaj Auto, has hinted that the electric two-wheeler due for launch before 2020 could, in fact, be a battery-powered scooter.

Speaking to shareholders at the 11th annual general meeting (AGM), Bajaj said the company is steadfast in developing an electric two-wheeler before the committed deadline of 2020.

“Urban electric mobility is an area which is risky because not many companies have ventured there so far but it is even riskier not to be there. There I can definitely confirm that in addition to the electric work we do on three-wheeler and four-wheeler we are working very strongly on electric two-wheelers. It could be an electric motorcycle as we are a motorcycle company. It could be an electric scooter,” said Bajaj.

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Bajaj vehemently stayed away from the scooter segment after producing the last scooter more than a decade ago, as it wanted to focus solely on the motorcycle market. This also meant not participating in a market which grew faster than the motorcycle segment in the past several quarters except the June quarter.

He again ruled out the possibility of entering the petrol-fired scooter segment where there is cut-throat competition led by Honda, which controls more than half of the market.

Bajaj said if the opportunity to enter two-wheeler electric mobility means entering scooters then the company won’t be averse to it.

“We never said we will not look at a disruptive opportunity with scooters. All we said was we are not going to make another 100cc scooter for Rs 50,000 and shut our shop doing that. So it could be a motorcycle, it could be a scooter we are not saying it yet what it could be. It could be both,” added Bajaj.

When asked about the timeline the company is looking at for the electric two-wheeler foray Bajaj said the company is targeting the next year and a half for the launch with a promise of making ‘the most beautiful two-wheeler in the world’. The company could showcase the electric two-wheeler at the AGM next year.

“Before the BS-VI norms come into place we will put out an electric two-wheeler into the market. And it will be an exceptional global brand. Our thinking is very clear, consumers who are looking for vehicles like this are not buying them for their batteries. People are not buying Tesla because of its batteries, they buy because it is beautiful. So our way to approach electric mobility is not to make a battery on two-wheels (but) it is to make the most beautiful two-wheeler in the world which incidentally also happens to be zero emission,” added Bajaj.

Bajaj has been working on an electric passenger three-wheeler, which will also be launched alongside an electric version of the Qute, a quadricycle that is currently sold outside India.

“I am quite confident that such intra-city electric vehicles will be made available by us well before 2020. So when emission norms are getting tighter we would have zero emission vehicles”, said Bajaj.

Bajaj Auto has formed a new vertical for the electric vehicle foray christened Urbanite that will look at all electric mobility-related businesses. This new vertical will be run by Sumeet Narang who was the Vice President (marketing), Bajaj Auto.

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First Published on Jul 23, 2018 05:14 pm
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