“It is very easy to make in India but how to sell in India is the problem,” says Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto and the evangelist for quadricycles.
In India it seems that the the Indian Automobile Industry is still feeling its way out in the darkness as currently there does not exist the right environment either from government, bureaucracy, and such institutions. All achievements and innovations by the Industry…be it the pulsar, the Nano, the Electric car E2O have all happened in spite of (and not because of) the Government, Bureaucracy and Institutions.
A two wheeler company that makes 3.4 million motorbike and 600,000 3 wheel vehicles every year goes on to make a much safer vehicle with 4 wheels but get condemned left, right and center. I mean non of these people who reviewed the RE60 on multiple top Automobile websites and publications have any problem with the scooters, motorbikes and rickshaws by which they all commute DAILY but have major “performance anxiety” about the safety about the Bajaj RE60. The 400KG Bajaj E60 renamed Bajaj Qute is one of the most eco-friendly vehicles to run on the Indian roads. It also has a turning radius of just 3.5 meter. A vehicle which has carbon footprint of just 60 gm/KM, 44ltrs of boot space, top speed of 70Kmph, but an astonishing mileage of 36Kms for every litre of petrol! It is so UNIQUE that this mileage is matched only by the Tata Nano CNG in the whole world!!!
What is surprising is that the makers of fuel guzzling SUVs the great Mahindra who have not been innovating and even withheld the innovation in Electric vehicles (Electric Verito has been withheld from releasing to the public from 2012), have been complaining bitterly that Bajaj has taken them by surprise and they need more time and “level playing field” and thus Bajaj must be stopped from going to the market and the biggest reason being put forward by the is that the vehicle is unsafe.
By this yardstick ALL 2 wheelers (cycles included) and ALL 3 wheel vehicles and subcompact cars like Alto, i10, WagonR, Chevrolet Spark, Swift, Nano, & VW Golf must be banned from the market as these vehicles are equally unsafe as the distance between the point of first impact and the driver is very short… if at all there is any…and these vehicles can be driven above 100kmph speed especially Alto, Swift and VW Golf who are capable of speeds above 160kmph. Thus in any head-on crash above 100kmph the driver and front passenger is sure to die. By 100Kmph crash we assume that both vehicles are moving at a speed of 60Kmph… and the resulting impact is around a 100kmph crash!!!
Not a great Car replacement but an amazing Auto rickshaw replacement. Autos have a mileage of 20 o 25kmpL thus the RE60 Qute can get about 40% better mileage therefore better business than before. A autorickshaw driver if he was earlier getting Rs 1,000 per day can now hope to earn Rs 1,400 which is significant!!! It can also double up to transport goods or stuff over long distances due to the better mileage. Would work great as Taxi and fleet cars as there will be significant fuel savings and extra income at the same, if not lower, expense.
Bajaj believes the vehicle, which has been globally validated, could create a good impression of Indian engineering and innovation. While he is riled by the delay in getting approval in India, Bajaj doesn’t blame rivals for creating roadblocks, because that is normal for a competitor to do. Instead, he puts the onus on authorities. “What is the government doing, the bureaucracy and courts doing? They are not my competitors,” Bajaj said. “Who is supposed to create the enabling environment of ‘Make in India’? It is not the companies but the government, bureaucracy, these institutions … to that extent we are disappointed.”
Although the quadricycle, initially called the RE60 and now branded ‘Qute’, meets the European Quadricycle guidelines, vested interest had created a lot of legal tangles for RE60 by filing multiple petitions in various high courts, questioning the government process in creation of this new category. The central government has since moved the Supreme Court to get these multiple cases consolidated in the apex court. Meanwhile the apex court has accordingly stayed the proceedings before the high courts of Karnataka, AP and Telangana and Madras transferring all these matters to itself. The matter is now posted for hearing before the Supreme Court.
Why a vehicle that passed the ARAI test has to wait for the orders from Supreme Court of a country is a little hard to understand… and how are we to explain this to the Mark Zuckerbergs, Larry Pages, Tim Cooks, & Elon Musks of the world?