Bajaj Auto is planning to develop an electric version of its quadricycle, the Qute. "Initially, the Qute will come with three powertrain options: petrol, CNG and LPG. In due course, we will also present an electric option," Rakesh Sharma, president – International Business, Bajaj Auto confirmed to Autocar India in reply to an e-mail query.
Bajaj Auto is gearing up to roll out its quadricycle in the Indian market. The wait to launch the Qute has been a long one for the automaker – it applied to the Ministry of Road Transport for the creation of a new quadricycle category, just a few months after the Qute (then, the RE60) was unveiled at the 2012 Auto Expo. The company has been exporting the vehicle to other markets in the time since, though domestic sales have not opened. The Ministry gave the go-ahead for the creation of a new category for quadricycles quite recently.
"We are delighted that MoRTH has officially approved the Quadricycle category. We will launch it (the Qute) in the intra-city last mile and first mile public transport domain as soon as all the other formalities are over," Sharma stated, adding that "the process now is to complete the certification at ARAI. After that the RTOs at State levels can be approached for respective clearances." The Qute roll-out will depend on how clearances progress at state level. Bajaj aims to introduce the Qute at the earliest, so it will go ahead with the launch in the states where it receives clearance earlier.
The Qute is equipped with a 216.6cc petrol engine with a power output of 13.5hp and 19.6Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox and is limited to a top speed of 70kph. The big news is that for the Indian market, Bajaj will later equip the Qute with a BS-VI-compliant engine. For now, Sharma said that only BS-IV-compliant vehicles have been submitted to ARAI for certification.
While the company admits that the Qute could potentially replace three-wheelers, to some extent, it sees a huge potential for both types of vehicles to co-exist, since they differ greatly on performance and affordability.
"To some extent there could be some substitution effect but that will be smaller than the expansion effect. Qute has the potential of motivating new drivers and owners to enter business (become self-employed) than perhaps other vehicles in this segment," Sharma noted.