With the electric vehicle fever on high pitch in the market, Bajaj has launched its new Chetak. But don’t let the name “Chetak” fool you as this scooter is nothing like the one you grew up with! It is an electric scooter that offers a range of 95 km on a full charge. It will not be retailed through any Bajaj dealership as will be sold through the KTM dealership network only. The new Chetak is the first electric offering by Bajaj; World’s largest two-wheel manufacturer. It belongs to a new generation of scooters that has only one direct rival, which is none other than the Ather 450. Hence, here is a comparison of how the Chetak stacks up against its rival.
Bookings of the Chetak are open and can be done for Rs. 2000 through the exclusive Chetak website. It is available in two variants namely, Urbane and Premium. The Urbane variant is priced at Rs. 1 lakh and the Premium is priced at Rs. 1.15 lakh. Deliveries of the Chetak will begin by the end of February as confirmed by Bajaj. In comparison, the Ather 450 is priced at Rs. 1.13 lakh (On-Road Bangalore). But Ather is only available in two cities as of now. Apart from Bangalore, the Ather 450 is only available in Chennai and will cost you Rs. 1.22 lakh (On-Road) there. Ather also plans to launch a better performing variant of the 450 which will be called tfhe 450 X.
Both the e-scooters are priced very close to each other and hence it will boil down to the features and range on offer for most customers. In terms of availability, the Chetak has an upper hand as it is backed by the KTM and Bajaj network.
The Chetak packs a motor that has a peak power of 4.08kW and a continuous output of 3.8kW. On the other hand, the Ather gets a higher peak power output of 5.4kW but it offers a lower continuous power output of 3.3kW. Hence, in stop-go traffic conditions, it provides more power but driveability remains the same. This is because Ather produces more torque at 20.5Nm in comparison to the Chetak's 16 Nm. Hence, Ather 450 is slightly better at handling city traffic conditions. In terms of outright performance, Ather 450 is also faster. It comes with a top speed of 80kph while the Chetak gets a top speed of 60-65 kph. Chetak’s higher continuous power output ensures that its battery pack remains relatively cooler.
The Ather provides a range of 75 km on full charge whereas the Chetak offers 95 km of range. This is because Ather 450 uses a smaller 2.7 kWh unit, while Chetak gets a 3kWh unit. The Chetak’s battery pack is also quicker to charge. But the difference in charging time is just 30 mins as Ather 450 takes 5 hours 30 mins to fully charge. Whereas the Chetak takes 5 hours for a full charge. Ather has confirmed that it is on setting up Ather Grid which is much like Tesla’s supercharger network.
This fast-charging infrastructure will give Ather an upper hand over Bajaj, once set. It will enable users to charge their e-scooters at malls or coffee shops. On the other hand, Chetak can only be charged via the charging cable supplied in the package, for now.
There is an extensive list of features that are offered on both the scooters. For starters, both get LCDs through which you can control a lot of features. Chetak’s display looks simple but it merges into the handlebar seamlessly. Chetak’s display unit is smartphone compatible as you can access it via an app too. The app comes with many features like navigation, vehicle-tracking, battery statistics, and other features. It can also alert you if it detects any movement while the scooter is locked. The Chetak offers a data subscription for enabling such features which will be free for one year.
On the other hand, Ather 450 offers a 7.0-inch capacitive touchscreen which is IP65 rated. The IP rating helps it protect from dust as well as from low-pressure water jet sprays. Hence, it is more user-friendly. The display unit offers an array of features and lets you tweak a lot of settings. It offers navigation, charge information, rider insights, and many other features. Ather also collects location and riding style information – including GPS data through an internet-enabled, pre-installed SIM card. Overall, in terms of features, the Ather is more user-friendly and offers a better user experience.
It is amazing to see a start-up generating enough ripples in the market to get even the largest two-wheeler manufacturer jump on the same bandwagon. While this might not be a good thing for a start-up like Ather, it certainly provides more options to the customers. Ather 450 is certainly a more advanced electric scooter technologically. It would soon be backed by the Ather Grid which will make charging its electric scooter much easier. However, Bajaj Chetak offers more range and it will be available in multiple cities. The sales network of Bajaj will enable it to reach more customers while Ather expands strategically into more cities. However, Chetak and Ather 450 are certainly the most advanced scooters in the market now.