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Solar Power comes to the humble Auto Rickshaw Pullers in India

, May 22, 2013, 1 Comments


Efforts should be made by the Government to replicate the model and encourage them to be used not only for carrying passengers, but also goods & garbage across the cities.

Solar Powered Rickshaws

Solar energy descends into another major area of pollution in India. It is the three wheeled auto rickshaws this time. The auto rickshaws are very popular on the streets of cities in India and Asia and are used excessively by the common masses for commuting.

Solar rickshaws were built as an alternative to gas-powered cycle and auto rickshaws. They were introduced as an environmentally-friendly mode of transportation in India in 2012. Source: Wikipedia

The auto rickshaws on streets are very polluting, even more than the four wheelers. Solar powered rickshaws will replace these polluting vehicles, thus providing a greener and carbon free environment. It is estimated that each such replacement can save upto 10 tons of carbon dioxide emission every year.

How Does Solar Powered Rickshaws Work

Solar energy can be used as the source to power the batteries of the vehicle, or there can be PV units powering the battery charging stations. It is been estimated that approximately 600 MW power plants will be required to convert the existing 1 million auto rickshaws into the cleaner renewable energy transport systems. These rickshaws are called “Soleckshaw” and are promoted by the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research in India.

Advantages of Solar powered Rickshaws

  1. Noise Free – These electric rickshaws will be noise free and silent as compared to the normal autorickshaws.
  2. Pollution Free – Since the electric rickshaws will use solar energy to run, they will be non polluting and will cut the carbon dioxide emissions in contrary to the normal auto rickshaws.
  3. More Efficient – The solar powered rickshaws will use 40% less energy than petrol autorickshaw and hence will be more efficient.
  4. Battery Life – The solar powered rickshaw can run for ~60-70 kms after fully charged. According to a survey, auto rickshaws ply for 25-30 kms/ day in India.
  5. Battery Charging – The batteries of the solar powered rickshaws will need to be charged the whole night. Once charged it will meet the daily requirement of an average Indian rickshaw puller.
  6. Battery Replacement Costs – Will be reasonable, since the pricey petrol/ diesel, which is becoming increasingly unaffordable even by the rising middle classes in India.
  7. Increased Earnings – The rickshaw puller charges according to the number of kilometers run, since the electric rickshaws will be more efficient and run even longer, the rickshaw puller will eventually earn more.

Government Intervention

The Government really needs to step a foot forward and make regulations mandating these solar powered rickshaws on the Indian streets. This will definitely be a cleaner and environment friendly approach towards leading a greener life.

The government should also make arrangements for building battery charging stations across the nation. Subsidies can be given to poor rickshaw pullers to purchase auto rickshaws. Also necessary actions should be taken to replace the lead acid batteries if possible.

These solar rickshaws have already been introduced in the Indian cities of Delhi, Chandigarh, Pune, Bhubaneshwar etc. Now the Government should make an effort to make them popular in the other cities as well.

  • Aarti Iyer

    Lovely article!