2024 Bajaj Chetak Premium (TecPac) first ride review - Does the Chetak finally beats its competition?
The Chetak Electric has been around in India for more than three and a half years. And ever since it came out back in 2020, we did appreciate it for its great build quality and its cracker, retro-themed design, but then again when you compared it to the competition in terms of features and downright range, the scooter seemed to be lacking in those aspects. But now, ever since everyone resumed work in 2024 and was busy wishing each other a happy new year, the 2024 Chetak was launched in two variations. This is the top-end Premium variant with the TecPac on board and Bajaj says that it has addressed the issues as far as features and range are concerned. We're going to check if this all comes together to make this scooter a more complete package.
In the looks department, the 2024 Chetak is as elegant as the model that existed before did. The metal panels on there, adding to the classy and premium feel of things. Every panel and almost every visible detail on the 2024 Chetak remain the same as before. At the front you still get the trailing-link suspension which is a nod to the model from the yesteryears while the rear gets a monoshock that's hidden away under the curvy and neat flowing panels at the tail section. The Premium model gets a different coloured seat and foot mat as well. The keyless fob and the self-cancelling indicators are a nice touch to this one. Draw your focus to the handlebar bar and you'll notice new feather-touch switchgear on there and much of it has to do with the scooter's new information display.
Now one of the biggest changes that the 2024 Chetak has witnessed comes in the form of the 5-inch TFT screen. Now, although the screen isn't a touchscreen, it is a lot livelier looking than the LCD unit that was on the older scooter. And now with the TecPac option, you get some additional features in terms of Bluetooth connectivity, turn-by-turn navigation, call and message alerts, caller ID as well, in addition to stuff like hill hold assist feature and the addition of a 'Sport' drive mode.
Yes the standard Premuim model get just one ride mode which is 'Eco' and you'll want the TecPac on there for additional 'Sport' and 'Reverse' drive modes and also access to the full list of app and connectivity features and OTA updates. The more affordable Urbane model gets the same LCD screen as the older Chetak model, but with some coloured elements thrown in for good measure. The TecPac with this one limits features to Sport and reverse drive modes, hill-hold assist, and Bluetooth features like music and call notifications. What's more is that the Urbane model comes with an off-board charger while the Premium comes with an onboard charger. This basically implies that with the Urbane, you have a bigger charger unit to lug about the place if you want to charge on the go, while with the Premium, the components of the charger are built in to the scooter and you just have to carry around a charging cable to get your charging done.
The 2024 Chetak Premium edition comes with a slightly bigger 3.2kWh battery pack, and although you can't tell what the battery looks like, it's a lot more compact now, and that has resulted in a lot more storage area under the seat. Previously you had 17-litres of storage space here, and now it's gone up to 21-litres, so you can fit in a half-face helmet a lot more comfortably now than before.
A slightly bigger battery pack means that the range has gone up by about 20km from before. Now the Chetak Premium has a claimed IDC range of about 126km. The 2024 Chetak Urbane on the other hand comes with a smaller 2.9kWh battery pack, which is the same capacity as before, but comes in the same compressed form, so you still get the additional under seat space. Range with this one is a claimed 113km, which is about the same as the 2023 Chetak model. Now although we are yet to conduct a proper range test on either of these models, from the little time I spent riding it around Pune on one rainy afternoon, I don't really see the Premium going north of 100km per charge if ridden normally and not extremely slow in the city.
As far as the ride and handling dynamics of the Chetak Premium go, nothing much has changed out here. The front end never feels really settled and ride quality is very bumpy, even at low speeds. This scooter feels built to take things nice and easy and the ride gets better with a pillion aboard, but the scooter definitely doesn't feel all that settled at the speed of an indicated 60kmph with two up. The TecPac on both Urbane and Premium variants ups the top speed of the scoot by 10 kilometers per hour, to 73kmph, still, there's a bit of play in the throttle when setting off from standstill in Eco mode and the throttle calibration feel a lot better in Sport mode.
Which means that if you prefer a brisk ride rather than a laid back one, you'll definitely want the TecPac on there for the more responsive calibrated throttle alone. The regenerative braking system seems to kick in a lot more eagerly in the Sport mode under 40kmph, while in Eco it lets you coast a lot without being as intrusive. Not only toggling through the options on the screen using the buttons on either side of the bar, but using the individual right and left indicator switches on either side will take some getting used to as well.
The seat, too, is just about comfortable for short riding stints within the city. Now if there was update that I really liked with the 2024 Chetak it would have to be that fact that now, if you are in Eco mode, and need to pull off an overtake and open the throttle fully, the scooter no longer switches to Sport mode on its own, instead it has its own unique 'economical' and 'sporty' approach to pulling away depending on what mode you've selected. Which was a much needed touch in my opinion.
The 2024 Chetak still retains what we've liked about the scooter when we first got out hands on it. It still looks great and feels really nice to ride in and around the city. Now this 2024 model comes in two trim levels: the Urbane which is the most affordable, at Rs 1.15lakh (ex-showroom) and the Premium, which will set you back by about Rs 20,000 more, over the cost of the Urbane. Then again, the TecPac, those additional features which these packs bring, you will want them there primarily because they come with a reverse mode, hill-hold assist and of course you have the livelier Sport mode on there as well in addition to Bluetooth connectivity and some phone connectivity options on there as well. You will want the TecPac on there, inconsiderate of whichever version of the Chetak you choose. Now in this day and age, its 2024 and I would have loved the scooter to have a TFT touch screen, a little more power and a slightly bigger battery pack to be honest, because it has been around for almost four years now.
Yes, Bajaj has addressed the issue of range, well marginally, and yes it has thrown in some more features with the TecPac options as well, but you'll have to pay Rs 8,000 and 9,000 over the cost of the standard models respectively for these options. So at the end of it, even after being around for so much time, the Chetak electric appears to just about match up to some of the esteemed competition from the houses of Ather energy and TVS. On its own, is the 2024 Chetak a more complete package over the older model? That's a big yes. Compared to the competition, is it any outstanding in any way apart from its design and build? Sadly, no, it isn't.
Words Christopher Chaves
Photography Sumit Gaikwad
Starts Rs 1,00,000