Could the quadricycle hasten the end of the auto rickshaw age?
Technically,a quadricycle is any vehicle with four wheels. Now,a government panel,encouraged by Bajaj Auto,has adopted a more particular definition: a vehicle that is something less than a car,and safer than the ubiquitous auto rickshaw. Now that the panel has given its approval for quadricycles to ply on city streets,though only as public transport vehicles,Indians can join European students and retirees in celebrating the automobiles progenitor returning in a new cast,and with a motor to boot.
Henry Fords quadricycle was the first vehicle he developed,a literal horseless carriage. Nostalgia has added to the vehicles cachet,and its still popular in countries like France and the Netherlands as a novelty vehicle. Indeed,France was the first country to define technical standards and traffic rules for quadricycles,and Indias quadricycle regulation will adopt norms notified in the three-wheeler category under the Central Motor Vehicle Rules,or the EUs quadricycle norms,whichever are stricter.
As the manufacturer probably intended,while pushing for the creation of a new,quadricycle classification,Bajajs RE60 will be the first quadricycle to become road-legal in India,seeking to replace the iconic auto rickshaw as the last-mile public transport vehicle of choice. In comparison to auto rickshaws,quadricycles are an upgrade: they have hard tops and doors and while they may not offer better mileage,they are more environment friendly. Is it time,then,to move on from the iconic three-wheeled,rickety anachronisms that dot Indian roads? Auto rickshaw killers have come and gone Tatas Nano is a prime example. But this time it may be different. Quadricycles are essentially an upgraded last link,that could offer a better and safer alternative to the millions who use three-wheelers every day.