Even battery makers, mobile importers making EVs now: Rajiv Bajaj
In a tussle to cater to needs of the gigantic Indian middle class, companies like Hero MotoCorp, Micromax and Bajaj Auto are manufacturing and/or investing in electronic two-wheeler startups. Even small motor makers have launched electric vehicles.
“I am surprised that battery, motor makers have launched electric vehicles and what surprised me even more is that some who were importing TV, fridge, mobiles have also started selling electric scooters. Whereas some failed automakers have launched products in the electric scooter space, other two-wheeler makers went down south and invested in electric two-wheeler startups as if it was not their job. But we at Bajaj are engineers who do our own jobs,” said Bajaj without identifying rivals.
While the country’s largest two-wheeler maker, Hero MotoCorp, has invested in Bengaluru-based electric scooter startup Ather Energy, Micromax cofounder Rahul Sharma launched electric motorcycles branded Revolt. Bajaj Auto is the first mass-market two-wheeler maker to have unveiled an electric scooter, branded Chetak.
Bajaj, who said the vehicle would not be priced higher than ?1.5 lakh, did concede that the company would initially lose money on the Chetak, but made light of the matter, saying losses often translated into higher valuations.
“I have seen the stock price of new startups going up because they are burning cash. So, this is our venture to burn cash and make our stock prices go up,” joked Bajaj. He added that the intention of this new venture is not to make money but rather be ready for the future. He, however, clarified the company will not get into battery-making or strive to create charging infrastructure to promote the venture.