Bajaj is India’s oldest moped or two-wheel maker and in India. They are reviving a vintage design and iconic brand which they are modernizing to lead India’s electric vehicle revolution.
Currently, the Indian market is filled with start-ups like Ather Energy, Revolt, and Ampere. Though they have limited production facilities and most of them are slowly expanding. They lack a scalable supply chain like the current incumbents and hence are limited to a small number of vehicles being made every month.
Taking a step forward, Bajaj has announced its entry in the electric scooter segment and it’s relying on reviving a decades-old brand name to make a mark. Bajaj Chetak was launched back in 1972 and was discontinued in 2005.
Originally, the Chetak was a spiritual successor to the Vespa 150 and shared a very similar design. For the then-progressing common man, it was a dream come true. For many families, it was their first vehicle and buyers saved up years to buy one. Back then, India was a truly socialist country and limited options were available for purchase.
While the previous offering was powered by an internal combustion engine, the new Chetak is an all-electric two-wheeler for the Indian market. There are quite some similarities in the design of the new version of the vintage Chetak, especially in the side profile. Also, the body of the scooter will be built in metal, and not plastic anymore.
It will come with an IP67 rated Li-ion battery, which will not be removable. There will be an in-built charger, and you can charge the bike using a regular 5A home power outlet.
The motor has an output of 4 KW and there will be two riding modes — Eco and Sport. The riding range for these modes is estimated to be 85km for Sport, and 95km for Eco mode.
Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director, Bajaj Auto said the production for Chetak began in September this year. Even if it does not succeed with Chetak in India, it is looking at a massive export opportunity.
The company hasn’t announced its price yet, but the MD did mention it’ll have an “attractive” price, but won’t be “aggressive”. That’s an indirect way of confirming that it won’t be ground-breaking.
Being a price-sensitive market, will this scooter be able to continue the Chetak legacy of offering an affordable option to India’s middle-class and encourage them to go electric? Only time will tell.