2024 Bajaj Chetak Review: Better equipped but is it competition-ready?

We spent some time with the 2024 Bajaj Chetak Premium in Pune to find out if the upgrades are enough to consider the electric scooter amidst newer riv
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2024 Bajaj Chetak Review
The upgrades are incremental on the Bajaj Chetak but are they enough to keep up with rivals?
2024 Bajaj Chetak Review
The upgrades are incremental on the Bajaj Chetak but are they enough to keep up with rivals?

The Chetak was Bajaj’s pioneering move into the electric mobility segment. It’s hard to think then that the Chetak has been around for four years. That’s largely because its sales and distribution haven’t been as dramatically high as its rivals. Bajaj acknowledges this and says they want to take slow but sturdy steps with the Chetak. This would explain why it's not aggressively sold at every Bajaj outlet and has its own experience centres instead. The Chetak is now completely localised unlike the first version that went on sale and in its fourth year, the electric scooter gets the much-needed set of features that were missing. But is that enough to keep up with the competition? We spent some time with the 2024 Bajaj Chetak Premium in Pune to find out.

2024 Bajaj Chetak: Design

The Bajaj Chetak was always a head-turner and this writer is happy to report that nothing on that front has changed, which probably is a good thing. Why fix something that’s not broken? The retro-styling is on-point with the horseshoe-shaped LED DRL, sequential LED turn indicators, multi-spoke alloy wheels and curved panels. The Chetak remains the only electric scooter to get an all-metal body and the model exudes the “built-to-last" feeling throughout. I do believe that the Chetak is the best-built Bajaj ever and the 2024 model continues to hold that position within the brand’s two-wheeler family.

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For 2024, Bajaj has added new dark grey accents on the Premium trim, instead of the brushed silver seen on the Urbane variant. The top-spec variant also gets a different floor mat and seat colour to visually distinguish the two variants apart.

2024 Bajaj Chetak: Features

The 2024 Bajaj Chetak has seen a bigger update on the feature front. The Premium variant now comes with a 5-inch TFT screen, a big departure from the round LCD unit that’s still available on the Urbane variant. There’s no touch functionality like Ather or Ola scooters but Bajaj says the TFT unit will be more reliable in the long run. The new screen brings more functionality with livelier colours, graphics and more features.

Most of these features are available with the TecPac, which is an optional extra and adds Bluetooth connectivity, turn-by-turn navigation, call and SMS alerts, music and volume controls, as well as Hill Hold, which works well. The TecPac also adds the ‘Sport’ mode, which should’ve been standard on the e-scooter to be fair. Everything else has been carried over on the 2024 Chetak including the illuminated switchgear, self-cancelling indicators, reverse mode, and more.

2024 Bajaj Chetak: Battery and Range

The new Chetak Premium is now equipped with a bigger 3.2 kWh battery pack as against a 2.9 kWh unit seen on the Urbane. The bigger battery pack has also made way for more range at 126 km (ARAI certified), which is a healthy update over the previous 108 km. The claimed range has also gone up on the Urbane promising 113 km (ARAI certified) on a single charge, albeit from the older battery pack. Bajaj says the real-world range should be a little over 100 km, allowing users to charge the e-scooter every 2-3 days, based on their usage. Bajaj says the new battery pack is a more compact package, which has helped improve the under-seat storage space at 21 litres, 3 litres more than before. A full-size helmet won’t fit still but a small backpack, knick-knacks and more can be easily stored.

The 2024 Chetak Premium also gets a bigger 800-watt onboard charger as opposed to a 650-watt charger on the Urbane. This essentially means you’ll need to lug just the charging cable instead of the bigger charger to charge the electric scooter, making the under-seat storage more usable.

2024 Bajaj Chetak: Performance

Nothing has changed on the mechanical front and the 2024 Chetak packs the same motor and power output as before. However, the top speed on the Chetak Premium has gone up to 73 kmph from 63 kmph on the Urbane. It can be increased on the latter as well with the TecPac. The Chetak was never about out-and-out performance and instead, it offers a more composed power output.

Power delivery is sluggish in the Eco mode and the throttle has a bit of play. But the Chetak is more responsive in Sport and there’s a sense of urgency. Power delivery is quick in the latter and you will tend to stick to Sport unless it's the range that’s keeping you anxious. The regenerative braking also works better in Sport mode and will kick in easily when you get off the throttle.

2024 Bajaj Chetak: Handling

The Chetak continues to use the trailing-link suspension, a homage to the original scooter, while the rear gets a single shock absorber. The suspension setup comes across as wooden for the most part but the ride settles on smooth roads going over small bumps. However, the thuds will translate to your back when going over a larger pothole, especially with sharp edges. Despite the rigid suspension, the cushioning on the seat is worth taking note of and does most of the job to keep you comfortable. The ergonomics remain unchanged and the Chetak is accessible to riders of all sizes with its low seat height. The floorboard isn’t the widest and those with larger feet will find it compact.

2024 Bajaj Chetak: Verdict

Prices for the 2024 Bajaj Chetak now start at 1.15 lakh for the Urbane trim while the Premium trim will set you back by 1.35 lakh (ex-showroom). Prices have seen a drop on the Chetak with the latest iteration but the difference is a good 20,000 between both variants. Then there is the TecPac with the connected features that will further set you back by 8,000 on the Urbane and 9,000 on the Premium variants.

The updates are incremental on the Bajaj Chetak and make the model more wholesome. The electric scooter effortlessly oozes style and is now more equipped to become a substantial offering in the segment. We also like how easy it is to ride one and Bajaj says the Chetak manages to attract quite a lot of attention from the women riders, as much from the male ones.

As a standalone offering, the updates on the Chetak are a big welcome and only go on to make the model a much better offering. However, the competition is miles ahead in comparison and that’s where the Chetak falls short. We would’ve liked a higher top speed for instance and a more pliant suspension for starters. A touchscreen console would’ve also been in line with current times. So, if are looking for an effortless electric scooter that can do reasonable distances, the Chetak is easy to recommend. But if performance and tech are what you crave, there are plenty of options to look out for instead.

First Published Date: 16 Jan 2024, 20:28 PM IST
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