Bajaj Auto will reopen bookings for the Chetak electric scooter from Tuesday. Disruption in supplies from China and a long waiting period had led to bookings being halted twice during 2020. Rakesh Sharma, ED, Bajaj Auto, said they will be resuming bookings on April 13 in Pune and Bengaluru. Over the year, the company would be aiming to go to about 24 cities, Sharma said.
According to Sharma, there was better visibility of the supply chain and the company had developed alternative sources, but did not disclose the component level sourcing plan. Bajaj Auto plans to ramp up production cautiously.
The Bajaj Chetak was designed and developed in-house and launched in January 2020 in Pune and Bengaluru. The electric Chetak, manufactured at the Chakan plant, was priced at `1 lakh, offering a range of 98 km per charge and the response has surpassed the company’s expectations. However, faced with interruptions in the supply of key components sourced from Wuhan in China after the pandemic, the company was adversely affected and so decided to stop taking any further bookings. Booking for the electric scooters were halted in March 2020 and then again in September 2020.
Since then, competition in the electric two-wheeler space has increased with TVS iQube, Ather 450X and Ola Electric’s 10 million electric vehicle capacity plant. Sharma acknowledges that the EV sector will see new and vigorous competition and they will be considering this in their plans. But at the same time this will facilitate the development of this sector, Sharma said.
However, Sharma was more worried about the lockdown plans in Maharashtra and in other parts of the country. The proposed lockdowns will be of grave concern as it would immediately impact sales, retard the economic recovery at the mass segment level and dent consumer confidence, Sharma added.
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