Exclusive | Bajaj, KTM to explore e-bicycles & performance electric two-wheelers

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Plans are also afoot to launch a range of performance electric two-wheelers by 2022

Motorcycle specialist Bajaj Auto and Austrian off-road bike manufacturer KTM are taking their 12 year-old partnership to the next level. Bajaj will not only increase stake in the European unit, but may also launch electric cycles, a first in its storied history. Plans are also afoot to launch a range of performance electric two-wheelers by 2022.

 

Both companies are working on a high-end electric motorcycle project, which is independent of the electric scooter that Bajaj has developed and will launched in FY20.

All these battery-powered two-wheelers will be produced at Bajaj’s Pune-based factory.

“In June, KTM Industries and Bajaj Auto decided to launch a development project series for powered two-wheeler electric vehicles in the performance range three and 10 kW (48 V) at the KTM AG level. The platform will support various product variants — powered two-wheelers and electric bicycles — under both partners’ brands,” KTM Industries AG said in a presentation.

One of India’s best-selling modern electric scooters is the Ather 450, which is powered by a 5.4 kW motor and priced at Rs 1.28 lakh.

With a consistent push by the government for switching to 100 percent electric mobility in future, India is witnessing dozens of experiments by established companies and start-ups in electric two and three-wheelers. A US-based start-up Fuell is launching an Rs 2.6 lakh electric bicycle in India with a range of 200 km.

“Production of the series will begin by 2022 at Bajaj’s production location in Pune. The required (product) development budget is covered in the medium term planning. This will represent a significant step in strengthening its cooperation with Bajaj,” KTM added.

To further strengthen their alliance, Bajaj has agreed to buy shares in the parent company of KTM, which is getting renamed shortly. It already holds nearly 48 percent stake through an overseas subsidiary in KTM AG, the owner of KTM and Husqvarna brands.

Bajaj will buy equity shares in KTM Industries AG, which is the parent company of KTM AG.

“The Bajaj Group has further strengthened its commitment to the KTM Industries-Group and the board of Bajaj Auto has approved acquisition of one percent stake in KTM Industries AG, which will be known as Pierer Mobility AG, held by Pierer Industrie AG,” KTM added.

At present, KTM has only one electric model — Freeride E-XC — on sale. It was launched in October 2017 in Europe but is not available in India. Priced at 7,500 euro (equivalent to around Rs 6 lakh), the motorcycle is suited for off-roading. KTM is also developing a 4 kW off-road motorcycle called Freeride Light that will be launched next year.

Under the Husqvarna brand, KTM launched an electric bicycle in early 2019 priced in the 3,400-4,200 euro range (equivalent to around Rs 2.67-3.3 lakh).

A stand-up scooter (without a seat) is under development and will be launched in 2020-21. In the same period, a full electric power scooter will also be launched

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