Bajaj Auto is targeting a leadership position in the export of e-two wheelers from India, much like it has done for petrol motorcycles. India's largest motorcycle exporter sells its models in over 70 countries.
Chetak Technology, its wholly-owned subsidiary, will be developing a portfolio of electric two-wheelers over the next few years. Rakesh Sharma, executive director of Bajaj Auto, has led the company's expansion into international markets. He is now hard at work charting a similar growth path for Chetak Technology.
"When we decide on a new product, we consider which markets we can sell in. It is always a global game. "The same will be true for EVs (electric vehicles)," Sharma predicted. Kenya, Mexico, Argentina, Asean nations, Nepal, and Bangladesh, among others, have expressed interest in the model, he said.
Chetak is looking to build a portfolio of e-two wheeler models by addressing various needs and catering to a diverse customer base, according to Sharma in an interview.
In the next two years, the Chetak plant will also serve as a key export hub for KTM and Husqvarna scooters and motorcycles. On the late Rahul Bajaj's birthday, the company inaugurated its newly built EV manufacturing plant in Pune's Akurdi.
After opening the company's sole EV facility, Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto, quipped, "We have always joked that Chetak was his favourite son; I would like to assume that he is quite happy, the way his birthday is celebrated."
The plant, which cost Rs 300 crore to build, will benefit from the government's production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme.
According to Sharma, Bajaj Auto will invest more than Rs 2,000 crore over the next 2-3 years. The factory has the capacity to produce 800 e-scooters per day (250,000 per annum). It can be expanded further to double its electric two-wheeler output.
Even while the company still considers satisfying domestic demand to be a top priority, Sharma said the company wouldn't wait until the backlog was completely cleared before starting an export programme.
Chetak Technology, according to Sharma, is considering a variety of collaborations, including taking an equity stake in a start-up or an established firm, to further its EV ambitions. It is not in a hurry, however, and will only partner with companies that bring "enough value to the table."