Though the Indian government gave its nod to quadricycles, India’s first automobile of the kind, Bajaj RE60, is still waiting to hit the roads, thanks to the myriad of legal challenges its facing. While the Pune-based automaker wants the quadricycle to be looked at as a superior alternative to the three-wheeled auto rickshaws, certain parties consider the low-cost four wheeler as a car with alarming safety issues.
Sri Lanka, Egypt and Nigeria are expected to be the first markets to receive the RE60. The last two countries are LHD markets.
Even as the RE60 is trying to navigate through the hurdles before finally plying the Indian roads, the company plans to derisk its latest product by commencing exports in a few weeks. Talking to ET, the firm’s managing director Rajiv Bajaj stated that the four wheeled intra-city passenger commercial vehicle will be produced for international markets such as Sri Lanka, Egypt, Nigeria, etc.
The aforementioned markets have traditionally been the biggest consumers of Bajaj’s three wheelers and have expressed interest in the quadricycle. Bajaj Auto is currently in the process of acquiring approvals from the respective authorities to sell the RE60 in its top overseas markets.
The quadricycle will be positioned as a superior alternative to the three-wheeled auto rickshaws. It even has a roof-mounted luggage carrier, adding to the utility factors.
As things stand now, Bajaj exports nearly 60% of its three wheeler production (50,000 units per month) and a similar trend is expected to be observed in the RE60’s case as well. As far as the chances of its Indian launch is concerned, the ARAI approval is reported to be in the advanced stages but there are still some legal setbacks to overcome.
Coming to the product, the Bajaj RE60 was unveiled at the Auto Expo 2012. The basic urban runabout is powered by a 216 cc single-cylinder petrol engine which is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The production-spec version’s power and torque outputs have not been disclosed yet but the vehicle is claimed to deliver a fuel efficiency of 37 km and emit just 60 g of CO2 per km (hence the name RE60).
Bajaj RE60’s Indian launch has been stalled by several legal battles even after the government’s approval over a year go.
When it goes on sale, Bajaj RE60 is expected to have a price tag of around INR 1 lakh (ex-showroom) and is likely to be restricted to commercial purposes only.
Ashwin is a guy with a slightly unorthodox perception of everything. His struggle to choose a career path, between art and automotive engineering, has landed him in the field of auto journalism, where he has paved way for himself to practise both.