Bajaj Auto will introduce its first electric autorickshaw in India by around April 2020, Rakesh Sharma, Executive Director, Bajaj Auto, has shared with Zee Business.
He told ZeeBiz.com:
As far as electric autos are concerned then it will take time but something will be launched in upcoming 4-5 months. But electric as a business – either it is for two-wheeler or three-wheeler – needs certain improvements like charging ecosystem, battery prices and they should be brought under control to give a boost to it. The electric business will come but the tipping point will reach only when all the forces will converge to create a charging ecosystem.
Bajaj has been working on the electrification of its three-wheeler for almost two years with the first prototypes spotted in Pune and Bengaluru last year. The company displayed the ‘RE Electric’ at the MOVE 2018 Summit last September in New Delhi and the display looked production-ready.
The RE Electric showcased came 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 claims 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 is placed on 12-inch wheels wrapped with low rolling resistance tires.
The Bajaj RE Electric autorickshaw will compete with offerings from Mahindra Electric, Kinetic Green, Exide Industries and Greaves Cotton. Piaggio India, a dominant player in the three-wheeler market with its ‘Ape’ series, earlier announced the launch of its first electric trike in the January-March 2020 period with swappable batteries, priced close to its CNG variant. It is to be noted that currently more than half of the miles traveled in India are using two- and three-wheelers.