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Bajaj to give Qute a facelift – Electric Vehicle News

Air conditioning and an electric avatar are among the steps Bajaj Auto is exploring to change the fortunes of its four-wheeler Qute.

The Qute hit Indian roads after years of legal and regulatory battles. But it has yet to make its mark and the majority is currently being exported.

The company is now working on upgrading the Qute to broaden its appeal in the domestic market. Rakesh Sharma, Executive Director, Bajaj Autosaid a product upgrade with air conditioning and other features was needed for the Qute.

An electric avatar of the four-wheeler is also in the works, Sharma said. It would be the first electric offering in the four-wheeler category and would complement the EV portfolio of e-scooters and e-3W. The Qute comes with multiple fuel options: petrol, CNG, LPG, bi-fuel and electric.

In addition, the Qute is largely exported and sold in eight countries in Latin America and Africa, including Mexico, Guatemala and Ethiopia. The newest export destination is Egypt. The company started shipping to Egypt this month. Egypt had banned three-wheelers in April 2022 and stopped exports of Bajaj to the country. “We have been working with them for the past year and a half and the Egyptian government has recognized the Qute for the last-mile transportation segment. The company hopes to build on this in the coming years,” said Sharma.

According to Elara Securities, there are currently about 500,000 units of 3W on the road in Egypt and Bajaj Auto was selling about 6,000 units per month here with peak monthly sales of 9,000 units and Qute’s exports to Egypt were a good opportunity.

In the first three quarters of FY24, the company sold 3,865 Qute units; 3,080 units were exported and 658 units sold in the domestic market.

In the Indian market, the company has a limited partnership with Uber. The company has been offering Qute rides in Bengaluru on the Uber platform (UberXS) since 2019. Bajaj Qute Auto-Taxi covered 50 lakh km and completed seven lakh rides on the Uber platform in Bengaluru till 2022. Qute riders gave Qute rides a rating of 4.86, making it one of the highest-rated ride categories on Uber.

Bajaj Auto has had a long battle for Qute’s approval. The central government’s nod for the creation of this category came with permission to operate it as public transport for intra-city travel. However, the development of the four-wheeler category is slow. According to the company, it has been a long and arduous journey to navigate the process of creating a new set of regulations at the Center and then at the state level as it was an entirely new category. Despite the delays and hurdles, the company has continued with the Qute through a combination of experimentation and targeted scale-up by positioning it between the 3W and the passenger car.and as a smart taxi option with the comfort of a car and the affordability of a 3W.