Bajaj set for foray into electric vehicles next year; e-scooter, quadricycle, 3-wheeler on anvil

(Eds: Adds more details) New Delhi, Jan 21 (PTI) Pune-based Bajaj Auto is planning to make a foray into electric vehicles (EV) next year, simultaneously with the migration of its conventional engine vehicles to BS-VI emission norms, its Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj said Monday. The company plans to launch electric version of its quadricycle Qute along with electric three-wheelers next year, even as it gears up to introduce the conventional engine version of the quadricycle around March after much delay. It is also working on an electric scooter. Bajaj Auto, which on Monday announced a new identity -- 'The World's Favourite Indian' -- to reflect its leadership position in motorcycle segment in many of the overseas markets, also said it was looking to replicate the success in its home market and increase its share. He also said the company would bring KTM-owned 'Husqvarna' motorcycle brand to the Indian market this year with "half a dozen" products in the pipeline. "Electric Qute and electric three-wheelers are very much on our agenda...In line with BS-VI, which comes into force from April next year, just as we make our petrol and diesel vehicles compliant with BS-VI, it is our objective to also introduce electric vehicles in terms of Qute and three-wheelers," Bajaj told reporters here. On electric two wheelers, Bajaj said "If you expect an electric scooter will appear on the stage that is not going to happen today. But it will happen soon." He, however, hastened to add that there could be a bit of 'back and forth' in terms of the exact timeline as "when you are dealing with new technology, everything is not certain". Stressing on the significance of the company's foray into EVs, he said: "This we need to do not only for India but for many of our other markets as well. The problem of pollution and congestion and the need for EVs, shared and connected mobility is there, too." Bajaj Auto has already started exporting Qute to around 20 countries but has not been able to launch it in India due to regulatory hurdles. When asked by when the Qute would finally be launched in India, Bajaj Auto Executive Director Rakesh Sharma said it could happen around March as the company is in the last stage of getting final approvals in various states. Commenting on ambitions for the domestic market in the motorcycle segment, Bajaj said the company has leadership positions in over 20 overseas markets such as 70 per cent share in Bangladesh and around 50 per cent in Nepal and Sri Lanka and it would like to replicate the same in India also. "We are also a company which, we would like to be a little more successful in the domestic market than we have been so far in the motorcycles market," he said. In India, he further said: "We have only 20-21 per cent share. We think now the time has also come that after having done a good job overseas, after having huge dominant position in India in three-wheelers, it is about time we make the same impact in the domestic motorcycle segment in India as we have done across the world." Citing SIAM data, Bajaj said that in the last nine months, the company has added almost 6-7 per cent market share to its domestic motocycle market. This is double of Yamaha's bike market share in its 35 years of presence in India, equivalent of TVS Motor Co's lifetime market share and Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India's motorcycle market share since parting ways with Hero in 2010, Bajaj said. Stating that the company wants to increase its market share, Bajaj said: "This is now the main focus of our energy and attention in the near future." When asked if the company had set any target, he replied in the negative. "Last year, if we had asked ourselves, if we could add market share equal to that of TVS, double of Yamaha and almost half of HMSI in just nine months, it could have sounded frightening," he said. On the Husqvarna bikes, Bajaj said the brand had a potential to become even bigger than KTM, not just in India but across the globe. Bajaj, however, declined to comment on future products from the company's partnership with British niche bikemaker Triumph saying work has already started with Bajaj Auto taking responsibility of the engineering part. PTI MSS RKL MSS MRMR