Dilution of norms have added to EV industry woes, says Rajiv Bajaj

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Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto Limited (BAL), blamed dilution of norms by the government for “what is wrong in the Electric Vehicles industry” in the country. Bajaj, who was interacting with the media in Pune on Friday, also talked about “upstarts” who do not do enough work before bringing a vehicle into the market.

“You call them start ups, but I call them upstarts,” he said referring to the several players that have crowded the segment. Such players, he said, did not have proper R&D, or engineering and were importing parts and launching the same in the market without any validation. Pointing to the various incidents of fire reported among Electric Vehicles (EVs), Bajaj mockingly said there were two types of vehicles. “Ones which have caught fire and the one which are going to catch fire,” he said. The gold rush in electric vehicles, he said, was due to various incentives on offer. “But consumers are bright and would not be taken in,” he said. Deliberate dilution of norms by authorities have also added to the problem, he added.

While EVs have become common in the country, incidents of fire and accident due to various reasons have cast a shadow over the safety of these vehicles. Most fires were reported due to battery malfunction with majority of the batteries being imported. Experts of the market said the batteries are not meant to function in high temperature like those in India.

On Friday, Bajaj also showcased the new assembly line of Electric Chetak, the iconic scooter which was re-launched in 2019. The electric Chetak is indigenous with Bajaj saying they “do not pick up spare parts from China or Europe”. The assembly line can produce 800 to 2.5 lakh vehicles a year, he said. The new assembly line will keep zero inventory and the total investment in the sector is around Rs 300 crore. The investment, including supply chain, is Rs 800 crore.

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Electric three-wheeler to be launched this year

Rakesh Sharma, executive director of the company, while interacting with media, confirmed that the company has plans to launch an electric three-wheeler from the Walunj facility in Aurangabad later this year. Supply chain issues in view of the global concerns continue to remain a sore point for the company with Sharma saying the situation remained volatile.

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