Rajiv Bajaj would be a happy man now as the Indian government has once again affirmed that quadricycles would now be legalized and would operate as a mode of transport in the country. With no legislation on quadricycles in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, kept the four-wheeled modern auto rickshaw away from Indian roads but now the government is considering to legalise and approve these quadricycles on Indian roads and that is certainly going make Rajiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Auto a very happy man as Bajaj has been trying to bring in its Qute quadricycle into Indian market for a very long time. Bajaj Qute in India made quadricycle that is currently been exported to out of the country as Bajaj awaits government’s nod to sell them in India for a while now. Remember, Bajaj first showcased its four-wheeled microcar in 2012.
Earlier Rajiv Bajaj had expressed its disappointment over this issue by saying, “If your innovation in the country depends on government approval or judicial process, it will not be a case of ‘Made in India’, but ‘Mad in India’. After five years, we are still waiting for permission to sell our four-wheeler in the country.” The ultra low-cost four-wheeler also referred as a microcar and has been a talking point for years now and has also been a pain for companies like Bajaj. Earlier, Renault and Bajaj had announced a partnership to bring in the micro car named RE60 to India but lack of legislation and failure of products like Tata Nano saw these investments taking a back step.
It now seems that Bajaj Qute will soon be running on Indian roads, as Ministry of Road Transport has decided to set norms for quadricycles in India. Based on vehicle’s weight, engine size and passenger capacity there would be a certain speed limit regulation on quadricycles and will also get standard safety norms for both passenger and pedestrian safety. Government is expected to notify these new rules and regulations in about two weeks.
A report on ET says that Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways, has confirmed government will soon issue the final rules for this category of vehicles which will further allow any OEM to manufacture and sell quadricycle in India. He further added that these norms will ensure that safety norms are further stringent than those in Europe. Media reports also claim that Bajaj has already asked its suppliers to increase the production of Bajaj Qute components.
With smart cities and metros coming up, quadricycles will play a crucial role in last-mile connectivity and many other Indian automakers like Mahindra and Tata Motors will soon venture into this space with this government’s decision. Auto Expo 2018 saw Mahindra showcase two new start mobility solutions - Mahindra UDO and Mahindra Atom electric vehicles. Mahindra UDO is a compact two-seater concept electric vehicle whereas Mahindra Atom is an electric quadricycle that aims to improvise the overall last mile connectivity in India.
Bajaj Qute was initially called as RE60 and is being exported to many international markets and meets the European guidelines and standards required to build and sell quadricycles. It’s top-speed is restricted to 70 kmph and claims a mileage of 36 kmpl. Bajaj has not revealed the price of the Quote but with stringent norms and better quality, expect Bajaj Qute to be priced around Rs 2 lakh (ex-showroom).
Quadracycles like Bajaj Qute might change the way of the last-mile commute and might just make it more comfortable and safer than the current e-rickshaws plying especially in Delhi/NCR. So while yes, Rajiv Bajaj might have a reason the celebrate this move to allow quadricycle to run on Indian roads will certainly benefit the daily public transport users and might just also marginally bring down the daily cost of transport, depending on the cost at which quadricycles are placed in India.