What do you get when you add one more wheel to an Auto rickshaw?
Well its a no-brainer, what you get is a Quadricycle. In simple terms, its a 4-wheeled auto rickshaw that promises car-like comfort.
Now how does it makes sense to us in India? Well here is the sweet spot, The Central Motor Vehicles Rules were amended this year and as per the newly created vehicle category, Quadricycles will be considered road legal for personal use, but it must meet the safety and emission standards for the powertrain used. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) says it will be a “cheap and safe mode of transport for last mile connectivity”.
Rajiv Bajaj is the probably the happiest person in India right now because the Qute (India’s first Quadricycle) which was developed way back in 2012 can finally be sold as a passenger vehicle.
An alternative to a two-wheeler, it is expected to priced between Rs. 2 to 3 lakhs ex-showroom. It will have excellent mileage in the range of 30 to 35 km/l and will have the same operating cost of a 2-wheeler.
The Qute is likely to be positioned as an urban mobility solution on four wheels and will definitely take on the 2-wheeler’s market. With a kerb weight of 450 kg and an engine output of approximately 13.2 PS, it is designed and intended for inta-city travel. Coupled with a 5-speed manual transmission, the Qute is capable of hitting 70 km/ hr. But it takes its own time getting there and the all-drum set-up for braking is not confidence inspiring among the many uncertainties that’s on offer on our roads. Built on a metal-polymer monocoque chassis, it has very less storage space owing to its miniature dimensions of 2752mm x 1312mm x 1652mm. It gets no AC either (which I hope Bajaj will add before launching for personal use).
Hence, with very basic equipment on offer, it will certainly not be a match for entry level cars such as the Alto 800 that has an ex-showroom price of Rs. 2.56 lakhs. But what it gives to the regular 2-wheeler folks are convenience, safety, comfort and an overall car-like feeling which is certainly a step-up from the 2 wheels at a marginally higher cost.
Europe has about 3,50,000 Quadricycles running on its roads. It was recognized as a new class of vehicle in US and Canada between 1998 and 2000. Only time will tell if Bajaj is able to successfully on-board 2-wheeler users to the Quadricycle revolution. Other players such as Hyundai and Toyota are also considering an entry. With the electric revolution going on, who knows, we could even see the Twizy from Renault on our roads soon.
And as always its more choice and power to the consumer :-)