Bajaj Auto has confirmed that it will not be working on an electric motorcycle anytime soon. The company today launched its first electric scooter, the Chetak, which it had unveiled in October 2019. It will sell this model in only Pune and Bengaluru initially.
The Chetak Electric is positioned as an affordable and viable option for urban commuters and will be retailed in two variants – Urbane and Premium. Bajaj Auto is expected to launch a more powerful electric scooter with a 10 kW motor under the Husqvarna brand using the Chetak's platform by next year. This 10 kW motor may also be offered in the Chetak at a later date.
Interestingly, Bajaj Auto’s European partner KTM already sells an electric motorcycle in the international markets - the KTM Freeride EX-C. This model has a 3.9 kWh removable Lithium-ion battery and an electric motor that produces 18 kW (24.5 PS) of maximum power and 42 Nm of maximum torque. It offers three riding modes, including a limp home mode which kicks in when the battery drops below 10%.
However, a high price tag of EUR 11,290 (INR 8.90 lakh) makes it a very pricy proposition. The Austrian motorcycle maker will be launching a mini electric motorcycle with a 5 kW motor (KTM SX-E5) internationally later this year. However, the upcoming 4 kW Freeride Light may be seen as a probable starting point for a Bajaj electric motorcycle, if there is one in the making secretly.
The KTM 4 kW Freeride Light is expected to be launched in 2022. If Bajaj Auto can package it as an affordable India-centric motorcycle, it can have a winner in its hand.
Bajaj Auto had earlier said no to launching a scooter for several years till it had a disruptive product in hand. An affordable, lightweight electric motorcycle for everyday urban usage can be a perfect stepping stone for a Bajaj electric motorcycle.