Entry-level car buyers in India will soon have a new range of small personal mobility vehicles to choose from. The ministry of road transport and highways, in a notification on 20 November, has approved the sale of quadricycles for personal use. Motorized quadricycles were so far allowed to ply only for commercial use.
A vehicle of the size of a 3-wheeler but with 4 tyres and fully covered like a car. It has an engine like that of a 3-wheeler.
Ministry of Road Transport & Highways notified the insertion of ‘Quadricycle’ as a ‘non-transport’ vehicle under the Motor Vehicles Act 1988.
Quadricycles were only allowed for transport usage under the Act but now has been made usable for non-transport also (Personal use).
The main aim is to give another mobility option, especially to the middle class who want to upgrade from two-wheelers. Besides, a person cannot carry family members in a three-wheeler, therefore, quadricycles are being allowed in the private category. The move will help them to upgrade to four-wheelers and move around with the family.
It is a cheap and safe mode of transport for last mile connectivity.
Quadricycles will not be allowed for transporting cargo or luggage.
Impact on the auto- industry:
Quadricycles will pose a serious challenge to entry-level cars. With the centre giving a go-ahead on the sale of quadricycles for personal use, top automakers will have to revamp their strategy on entry-level cars, given quadricycles are expected to be far cheaper.
Bajaj Auto Ltd’s Qute is the first locally produced quadricycle.
While the government is trying to improve the safety standards of vehicles for Indian roads, quadricycles may not even meet the basic safety norms. Quadricycles should have been restricted only for commercial purposes since they don’t meet the emission and safety norms of passenger cars. The regulators have been lenient and have diluted the norms for vehicles in this segment.
Earlier this year, the Indian Government had approved of the Quadricycle as a vehicle category. Similar to all other vehicles sold in India even the Quadricycle vehicles will have to undergo a rigorous crash test and will have to meet the Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program (BNVSAP) safety norms and also the BS-VI emission norms.
The government has also approved full electric or hybrid models of Quadricycle vehicles but even those models cannot skip the stringent crash test norms.