Bajaj Auto Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj on Friday took a dig at the mushrooming growth of the EV startups and series of fire incidents in some electric vehicles in the recent past, questioning their underlying process of manufacturing.
Speaking at the inauguration of Bajaj Auto's wholly-owned subsidiary Chetak Technology Ltd's dedicated electric vehicle manufacturing facility at Akurdi, Bajaj said that the people who have no business to be in the business of EVs are trying to be in this space.
"The issue is not the fire itself. This (such incidents) happened in the vehicles with internal combustion engines as well. The issue is the underlying process of the manufacturing," he said.
He further noted that "what concerns me more is the environment that has promoted this mad whole rush. Why are people who have no business to be in the business of EVs trying to get into the business? This must be fixed. Maybe, if I can say so, the relevant authorities in the government have diluted norms for EVs." It (EVs flooding the market) may partly be because of the incentives as well, he said.
"Under the guise of low-speed vehicles you can bring any chunk of vehicles from anywhere and put it on the road. You will not have these scooters catching fire? What do you expect," he asked.
Stating that the company has kept its commitment of commissioning this project by June, Bajaj said, this focused, integrated and agile facility is intended to power the Chetak's ride back to the future.
"Chetak is the original 'Make in India' superstar, which won hearts worldwide. True to those designed-and-built-in-India roots, the electric avatar of Chetak is born out of our strong R&D, deep understanding of products and consumers, and decades of manufacturing expertise," Bajaj said.
Chetak Technology Ltd (CTL) and its vendor partners will be investing nearly Rs 750 crore in this new EV manufacturing facility.
Spread in 6.5-acre land, the 5-lakh annual capacity two-wheeler production plant is aimed at catering to both domestic and export markets, the company said.
Bajaj had brought back its iconic Chetak scooter in electric avatar in October 2019.
The company said it has sold over 14,000 Chetak e-scooters since its launch and has received more than 16,000 bookings.
Co-located with a state-of-the-art R&D centre, the company's Akurdi facility aims at transforming into a major hub for the design, development, and manufacturing of EVs.