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
- Noise Free – These electric rickshaws will be noise free and silent as compared to the normal autorickshaws.
- 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.
- More Efficient – The solar powered rickshaws will use 40% less energy than petrol autorickshaw and hence will be more efficient.
- 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.
- 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.
- Battery Replacement Costs – Will be reasonable, since the pricey petrol/ diesel, which is becoming increasingly unaffordable even by the rising middle classes in India.
- 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.
Also Read about Solar Carports on GWI.
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. 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.
The Capital is turning green with a vengeance. After promoting the use of electric cars and the use of green technologies, Delhi will soon see the solar-powered rickshaws on its roads.
Around 1,000 of these rickshaws, which come in three variants, will be introduced in different parts of the Capital by June. Senior officials of the Delhi government’s environment department said the final plan is to increase the number of such rickshaws, also called soleckshaws, to at least 10,000.
The plans also include allowing the use of these rickshaws by licensed operators at key archaeological sites, education institutions, corporate campuses, for waste disposal and in carrying goods in old, congested markets such as Chawri Bazaar, Chandni Chowk and Sadar Bazaar.
The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has invited CSIR-recognized dealer HBL Power System Ltd and its strategic partner Prabhadeep Industries Limited to show a demonstration of the vehicle on November 30. “We have heard of the solar rickshaw becoming popular in Delhi, Chandigarh and some other cities. If the vehicle has green features, we will also promote it in Bhubaneswar,” BMC mayor A N Jena told TOI.