Mumbai: After 6 years of tussling and answering a host of public interest litigations (PILs) in court, Bajaj would have heaved a sigh of relief with the MORTH (Ministry of Road Transport and Highways) finally clearing a policy to permit the use of quadricycles in the commercial space. A notification on the same is expected by 9 June 2018. Reportedly, the government had classified quadricycles as a legal and separate mode of transport in February 2018.
By definition, a quadricycle is a four-wheeled microcar with limitations in terms of weight, power, and speed. For a basic understanding, consider it to be a four-wheeled version of the 3-wheeler autorickshaw that is used to ferry passengers in India. A quadricycle is much like a car on the inside, with a passenger seat next to the driver and a bench at the back. It gets a steering wheel, like conventional cars.
First showcased at the 2012 Auto Expo as the RE60 concept, the Bajaj Qute is powered by a 215cc petrol engine which puts out 13.2PS of power and endows it with a top speed of 70kmph. This engine is CNG/LPG compatible and employs a motorcycle-type 5-speed sequential gearbox. It is expected to return to 36kmpl. The vehicle measures a mere 2,752mm in length – 412mm shorter than the Tata Nano!
In comparison, the three-wheeled Bajaj RE autorickshaw is powered by a 199cc petrol engine that makes 10.3PS of maximum power. The engine is paired with a 4-speed manual transmission. The Bajaj RE measures 2635mm in length, 117mm shorter than the Qute.
With the official green signal expected very soon, expect quadricycles to be plying on Indian roads in the near future. These vehicles are expected to be more comfortable and safer than the three-wheeled autorickshaws so common today. Bajaj is already exporting the Qute to foreign markets such as Central America, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, with Mexico and Peru expected to join this list soon. As a result, expect the Qute to be the amongst the first quadricycles plying on Indian roads. The price of the Bajaj Qute is expected to be around Rs 1.50 lakh to Rs 2 lakh.