Update – The battery-powered autorickshaw from Bajaj that is scheduled to launch within weeks has been spotted again on the roads of Pune by Instagram handle theupshifters.
Specifications of the Bajaj RE electric auto rickshaw, which will be called the Bajaj RE EV, appeared online, courtesy of a government website, in January.
The Bajaj RE EV measures 2,714 mm in length, 1,350 mm in width and 1,772 mm in height. It gets a 2,010 mm wheelbase with a gross weight of 732 kg. The electric rickshaw has a 1+3 seating layout (driver+passengers). Propelling the rickshaw is a 4.3 kW (5.85 PS) electric motor that gives it a top speed of 42 km/h. The on-board charger’s capacity is rated at 1.2 kW.
First displayed at the MOVE 2018 Summit in September 2018 in New Delhi, RE Electric auto-rickshaw is confirmed to launch around April 2020.
The RE Electric that was showcased was instituted with swappable 48-volt Lithium-ion batteries. Using the onboard charger, a full charge would take 6 hours, while swapping batteries would take 6 minutes. The RE electric is equipped with regenerative braking for higher efficiency and features a digital instrument cluster.
Bajaj Auto, at the MOVE 2018 Summit, claimed that is electric autorickshaw can do 120 km on a full charge with a governed top speed of 45 km/h. The kerb weight of the four-seater (driver + 3 passengers) is 400 kg and it rides on 12-inch wheels wrapped with low rolling resistance tires.
The electric three-wheeler is the best performing segment in the EV sales of India and many manufacturers are stepping into the game seeing the success of the low-cost Chinese imports. Total EV sales in India in FY2019 stood at 759,600 units with electric two-wheelers accounting for 126,000 units, electric three-wheelers contributing 630,000 units and electric passenger vehicles recording 3,600 units. The electric vehicle segment is seeing an unprecedented boom as just 56,000 electric vehicles were sold in 2017-18.
Piaggio India, a dominant name in the three-wheeler market with its ‘Ape’ series, has launched its electric trike, the Piaggio Ape Electrik, which comes with a 4.7 kWh swappable lithium-ion battery offering a range of 80 km range on a full charge, at INR 1.97 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The Bajaj RE Electric would have to contend with Piaggio’s model right from the time of launch and will also face competition from players such as Mahindra Electric (Mahindra Treo Yaari), Kinetic Green, Exide Industries and Greaves Cotton.
It is to be noted that currently over 50% of the distance travelled in India are on two- and three-wheelers.