Quadricycles for private use to get green light
Quadricycles, approved for commercial sales in June, are distinct from regular four-wheelers in that they weigh almost half as much as entry-level small cars, have smaller and more frugal engines, and are equipped with basic features.Updated: Nov 22, 2018 07:31 IST
The Union government will this week approve the sale of quadricycles for private use, paving the way for a new segment of affordable four-wheelers for Indian families, although not everyone is convinced about their safety.
Quadricycles, approved for commercial sales in June, are distinct from regular four-wheelers in that they weigh almost half as much as entry-level small cars, have smaller and more frugal engines, and are equipped with basic features.
“We will be issuing a notification in a day or two allowing the use of quadricycles for private use. Earlier, we had allowed them as a new transport category for commercial purpose. At present it is available as a petrol-driven vehicle only,” a senior ministry of the road transport and highways official said, asking not to be named.
According to regulations, vehicles in the segment will have to weigh less than 475 kg — roughly half of the Maruti Celerio, which is one of the lightest small cars on sale. Quadricycles will have to meet crash protection and emission norms, according to the government’s earlier notification.
“Maximum permissible kerb weight for the purpose of classification shall not exceed 475 kg in case of passenger vehicle and 550 kg in case of goods vehicle,” the order issued in June had said.
One of the first vehicles of this category is the Bajaj Qute RE60. It was unveiled in 2012 but could not be launched as Bajaj’s rivals and industry bodies approached the Supreme Court citing safety concerns. The company has, however, been exporting the vehicles.
Following the government’s June notification amending Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, the Supreme Court approved the classification of quadricycles as a new vehicle category in India.
Bajaj Auto declined to comment on the developments.
Experts said the issue of safety needs to be kept in mind with such vehicles.
“In India, the range of vehicle types that are used on road are an inherent cause of lack of safety. Both speed and size variations in big and small cars increase chances of unsafe incidents on roads,” said professor D Raghuram, director of IIM Bangalore.
“People in smaller vehicles such as two wheelers tend to go squeeze in between larger vehicles to get ahead. From that perspective, it doesn’t seem like a very good idea to have such vehicles (quadricycles). Though in terms of fuel efficiency they may be cost effective,” he said.
The Qute is yet to be launched in India, but market analysts expect it to be priced between ₹2 lakh.
“The vehicle is made in India and hence, parts are easily available. The maintenance cost is comparable with a 3–wheeler. It is suitable for daily commuting,” according Bajaj Auto website on the vehicle. According to the manufacturer, the Qute will do 35km/litre in the petrol version and 43km/kg in the CNG version with a maximum speed of 70 kmph.