Bajaj Auto is ready for production of its 216-cc four-wheel passenger carrier or quadricycle. However, commercial production awaits a government licence for this particular vehicle type. The firm may start selling these vehicles in overseas markets by 2014 where regulatory approvals for quadricycles are in place.
Showcasing the quadricycle to reporters here, Rajiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Auto said “We are exploring export options. But we are very hopeful regulations will come in domestic market before we take it to production”. He said the ministry of road transport and highways has given in-principle approval for a quadricycle category.
Bajaj’s quadricycle, carrying project code RE60 with 216 cc-20 horse power petrol engine, 70 kilometre speed and 450 kg weight, is positioned as a substitute for three-wheelers. However, lack of regulatory approvals has come in the way of launching this product that Bajaj has been working on for the past five years. Bajaj claims a 35 kilometre per litre mileage and 60-70 grams per kilometre CO2 emission for RE60.
“We are trying to pioneer a new category. We hope to get clarity from the government. It seems they are quite keen on it,” Bajaj said. He added “It would be priced higher than three-wheelers and lower than cars. However, where it will settle depends on the specifications that are going to be laid out by the government”.
Advanced markets such as Europe, US, Japan and Canad have already classified a quadricycle category — a four-wheel light vehicle for last mile transport. In India, the ministry of road and highways has formed a committee to look into category creation.
Bajaj said the firm will produce quadricycles in its Aurangabad plant and plans 5,000 vehicles a month. The use of an existing plant, effluent treatment facility and sub-station has helped the firm save R300 crore and this will help Bajaj Auto price it competitively, he said.
Bajaj has proposed specifications such as a speed limit of 70 kilometre, weight limit of 450 kg and non-use of these light vehicles on highways and express ways. It also wants users to be allowed to register it as either a commercial or personal vehicle.