In the Indian context, while we have shown that we are capable of building world-class electric two-wheelers the likes of the Emflux One(an electric superbike that was showcased at the 2018 Auto Expo) we are yet to put anything above the premium electric scooter into production. Cue, Rajiv Bajaj who has been saying for the better part of the year that they would bet heavily on green electric motorcycles the likes of Tesla. Wait? Tesla? The electric SuperCar maker? So Bajaj is going to make an electric superbike? Most likely not, not in the immediate future anyway. What we think Rajiv Bajaj means when he says Tesla like is the fact that, Tesla changed the perspective of a world that was unable to wrap themselves around electric mobility.
Concurrently, while the Model S is surely a supercar that’s not the one that will bring home the bacon for Tesla, think of the S as more of a conversation starter. The rest of the Tesla’s like the newly launched Model 3, Model X and are practical, realistic, affordable yet luxurious cars with advanced telematics, on par (if not better) than their ICE counterparts in terms of performance. This is the ethos that Rajiv Bajaj is probably trying to say they will try to imbibe in their upcoming Bajaj electric motorcycles. However, for this, Bajaj will look to a start a new Brand under the Urbanite marquee for electric two-wheelers instead of electrifying their existing brands like the Pulsar and Discover.
As of now, not a lot is known about the Urbanite brand or the electric two-wheelers that will bear its name. What we do know as of now is that Bajaj has assured that the first Urbanite electric two-wheelers will be launched in 2020 and that they are likely to be powered by performance oriented and offer long range along with some semblance of telemetry. Now, we may feel like 2020 is a long time away but in less than a month that deadline would have drawn a year closer, meaning a very tight schedule for Bajaj’s Urbanite brand that now has to settle on a powertrain, a new Chassis and the marketing requirements of an all-new brand in an uncertain market.