Bajaj Auto, India’s third biggest two-wheeler manufacturer, plans a production ramp-up of its maiden electric product, Chetak, following the resumption of supplies of semiconductors to normal levels. The company will introduce three to four new models under the Chetak umbrella over the next 18 months, a top company official said.
Bajaj Auto hopes to crank up production of the Chetak by 50% to 6,000 units a month from around 4,000 units produced in September. The company clocked 6,200 Chetak sales in the April-June period followed by 10,000 units in the July-September period.
Bajaj Auto trails Okinawa, Ather and TVS Motor Company in the electric two-wheeler category, according to data shared by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
Speaking at a post-earnings conference call, Rakesh Sharma, executive director, Bajaj Auto said, “The volumes (of Chetak) are ramping up quite smartly because we have better supply chain visibility. We are in 40 cities now. We are also gradually working on expanding the EV portfolio to cover different emerging segments geographies. We will be in 85 cities by the end of the year.”
The expansion of its electric two-wheeler portfolio will see the addition of multiple products under the Chetak umbrella, possibly with varying drive ranges and power output. “We are expanding our portfolio and you will see three to four introductions, which will attack new segments. All these will be under the Chetak umbrella,” Sharma added.
Electric two-wheelers have been a runaway hit in the market with volumes growing more than four times this year. The electric two-wheeler segment having motors with more than 250W power, saw sales of 134,472 units during the April-September period, a growth of 336% compared to the same period last year.
The Pune-based company is the market leader in the three-wheeler space however, there have been repeated delays in the company’s debut in the electric three-wheeler space.
Originally scheduled for launch in 2019, which was subsequently rescheduled for FY22, Bajaj hopes to introduce its electric three-wheeler by the end of this financial year or early next year. The delay in its debut in this space is due to the requirements for further fine-tuning of the product. “I do recall (that) we were expected to be in the market by this time with our electric three-wheeler but as we did our trial a few months ago, we found that there need to be several improvements to be made to the product. We hope that before the start of the next financial year we are able to put it out commercially in the market,” Sharma added.