NEW DELHI: Two-wheeler major Bajaj on Wednesday announced the comeback of its iconic scooter brand Chetak in an electric avatar.
The company plans to start selling electric scooters (e-scooter) under the Chetak brand January onwards from Pune and then move to Bengaluru; and after gauging the response, expand operations to other locations.
The e-scooter would be rolled out from the company's Chakan plant and would be retailed from the company's Pro-Biking dealerships.
The company also plans to export the model to various relevant markets in Europe from next year itself.
The e-scooter was unveiled by Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari in presence of Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and Bajaj Auto Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj.
Commenting on the company's foray into the electric segment, Bajaj said it wanted to be the first mover in the segment as an established player in the two-wheeler industry.
"With this attitude, we have decided to move into electric vehicles," he added.
Bajaj said that the launch of the e-scooter doesn't mean that the company is making a comeback into the traditional scooter segment.
Bajaj said the company's focus would remain on bikes for volumes, while the e-scooter along with other brands like KTM and Triumph would act as niche segments.
The company did not disclose the price of the new scooter but said it would not be more than Rs 1.5 lakh.
The scooter comes with a range of 85 km on sports mode and 95 km on eco mode on a single charge of around 5 hours.
Speaking at the event, Gadkari said the future of the automotive industry lies in eco-friendly technologies such as electric vehicles and biofuels.
The government is soon coming out with a scrappage policy, he said adding that it also plans to open up the country's port for scrap for recycling from international markets.
Kant said the future of the sector would be in ride-sharing, connected and autonomous mobility and electric vehicles.
He added that the auto industry, globally, is in the middle of massive disruption as the sector would move from internal combustion engines to electric ones.
Kant said India must not lose out on becoming the global manufacturing hub for electric vehicles, having already lost in the manufacturing of four-wheelers, mobile phones, telecom equipment and solar cells.