India, a country where 14 people die in road accidents per hour on average, where road rage and traffic jam is part of everyday routine, where more than half of cars sold don’t have airbags and where most of the drivers do not wear seatbelts. Now launch of new vehicular class called quadricycle has become a topic of discussion on motor vehicle safety. Ten years back when TVS Motor coined the term quadricycle, Bajaj Auto and Maruti Suzuki opposed this vehicular class, stating safety concerns for the occupants. After all these years, Bajaj has now come up with the RE60 and other MNCs are also planning to launch quadicycles in India.
Quadricycle is a four-wheeler with smaller displacement engine, and is slotted between a three-wheeler and an entry level car. Quadricycle will have a lower capacity engine and is hence cheaper than cars. One quadricycle’s toxic emission is equivalent to approximately eight normal cars together. All developing and developed nations are against the idea of introducing quadricycle as main stream passenger vehicle.
Quadricycles are mostly used as recreational vehicles and have a niche market hold in some nations. As per the report by one of the British institute for transport research, fatality risk per one lakh vehicle kilometres is ten to fourteen times greater for quadricycles as compared to passenger cars.
Entry level car companies argue that quadricycles, which resemble small cars in looks, should follow same safety and noise standards as a small car. Remaining companies argue that the new class of vehicles are designed to replace three-wheelers and need not follow small car safety standards. Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers states, it does not have any official view on this point. Ministry of road and transport constituted a committee to come up with regulations for launching quadricycles as a new vehicular category in India. Following are some pros and cons which may or not work for the quadricycle in India.
• Safer and comfortable than three-wheeler
• Cheaper than entry level car to buy and run
• Fatality risk is more when compared to car
• High toxic emissions than entry level passenger car
It is important to take a decision which is in interest of public safety. We need to research and understand the impacts of this new vehicular class.