Come June, 500 ElecRics would be launched in Bengaluru

Could these e-autorickshaws bring us some respite from Bengalurus air pollution
news Innovation Friday, May 06, 2016 - 18:25

Known for its poor air-quality, Bengaluru has been grappling with extremely high pollution of air. According to the National Air Quality Index 2015 (NAQI), the city’s air-quality levels were worse than Delhi at times. The Indian government has announced the introduction of e-autos across the country. However, a Bengaluru-based private company RJMS-EV has taken a plunge into the market. They are retro-fitting the existing 2 stroke autos to give the Bengaluru autos an e-makeover.

“Converting rickshaws that are 7 years or older, we replace the existing engines in the vehicle with variable motor containing hall sensors,” says Umesh Chandra, co-founder of the company.

A panel manufacturing company, RJMS-EV formulated this idea back in January 2013. A zero-emission, zero-decibel model, ElecRics cost under Rs 2 lakh, compared to its imported counterparts, which cost over Rs 6 lakh, he says. An overhead solar panel on the auto powers indicators and headlights, while it comes with batteries for charging.

Other electronic auto-rickshaws give a speed of 20-25 km per hour, but Umesh claims that ElecRics give a greater speed of 60 km per hour. “While the motorised e-rickshaws offer only last-mile connectivity, they can often cover only a maximum of 2 km,” he adds, stating that the alternative motor system in ElecRics makes them similar to a normal rickshaw.

Launched as a pilot project in 3 cities - Delhi, Bengaluru and Nagpur - on March 6, ElecRic has been approved by the ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India), after which it recently received a road-worthy certificate for commercial production.

“The initiative is a two-way prototype that is favourable to the commuter as well as the driver,” Umesh says. “Each battery costs about Rs 120, which then gives a capacity of 100 km. So, it costs them just over a rupee per kilometre. However with LPG, it costs them Rs 3 per km,” he continues, claiming that ElecRics would help them save 50% of the expenses.

Shankar, who has been driving the vehicle since its launch in the city, speaks about its feasibility. “With the clutch and loud gears replaced with motors, all we have to do is press the accelerator for a noiseless ride,” he says. “The battery takes about 3 hours to charge and it runs for the whole day. Oil-maintenance is one problem we don’t have to worry about,” he continues, declaring that he would continue riding his ElecRic.

With the government providing a subsidy of 50%, coupled with low-interest loans, drivers would now have the choice of retrofitting their old autos, Umesh claims. “Our pilot project has covered around 1 lakh kilometres, across the 3 cities and the 9 autos are still up and running.”

Looking forward to their commercial launch in June, where around 500 such rickshaws would be launched in Bengaluru, Umesh speaks about their plans of inventing electronic cars by the end of the year. “We have the prototypes of Tata Indica and Wingers ready. All that is left is ARAI’s permission and we will be good to go,” he says. 


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