Industrialist Rajiv Bajaj has criticised the existing regulatory norms for electric vehicles while raising concerns over the incidents of EVs catching fire in recent months.
The Managing Director of Bajaj Auto has blamed the dilution of norms for EVs by the regulators and the use of cheap materials for e-scooters by the EV startups, which have mushroomed in large numbers in the last few years.
"The relevant authorities in the government have diluted the norms for electric vehicles, and it has promoted the mad rush for low-speed manufacturing vehicles. What more do you expect if not scooters catch fire when you use junk from anywhere and put it on the roads. The problem is with the underlying process of the manufacturing," Mr Bajaj said, on Friday, speaking at the inauguration of Chetak Technology Ltd's dedicated electric vehicle manufacturing facility at Akurdi in Pune.
According to Mr Bajaj, EVs are catching fire due to internal combustion engines. He said that EV startups are entering the market due to the central and state governments' attractive incentives.
"Why are people who have no business to be in the business of EVs trying to get into the business? This must be fixed. This is a gold rush, and I know of some people who don't have R&D, engineering, purchase function or anything more than just a half assembly facility. They are importing stuff, not validated for the market and putting it out," said Mr Bajaj taking a dig at the spurt of EV startups.
Questioning the manufacturing process of the EVs by startups, Mr Bajaj said that new EV makers are entering the market every day and import some kits, assemble them and sell them.
Responding to Bajaj Auto's plans in the EV segment, Mr Bajaj added that it is a robust process we follow that ensures what we produce is of the highest quality, durable and reliable.
Talking about Bajaj Auto's flagship scooter Chetak's EV version, he said that Chetak is the original Make-in India superstar who has designed-built-in-India roots, and the EV version is the result of strong R&D, understanding of the product and the consumers as well as the decades of experience in manufacturing.
Chetak Technology Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bajaj Auto, will have an investment of around Rs 750 crore from its vendor partners.
The EV manufacturing facility has a 5-lakh per annum two-wheeler production capacity. The company has already sold 14,000 Chetak e-scooters, and it has orders for another 16,000 two-wheelers.