Electric rickshaws have taken the Indian streets by storm over the last decade, and have become increasingly popular as a replacement to the standard rickshaws.
In India, the earliest attempt to design electric rickshaws was taken up by the Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute in the late 1990s, but they have only picked up steam since 2008, and especially over the last few years, they have shown remarkable growth. Given that the Indian Government has announced its intention of having an all electric fleet by 2030, that growth only promises to prosper even more.
But how are they made?
Electric rickshaws are extremely lightweight, and have a mild steel tubular chassis, consisting of three wheels. They use a brushless direct current motor, which is usually manufactured in China and India. The chassis in the Chinese version usually consists of very thin iron or aluminium sheets. Fibre versions are also very popular in India owing to their endurance and low maintenance costs.
The size and seating capacity of the vehicle varies from vendor to vendor, and some of them offer a lot of customisation according to the consumer’s desire.
China is by far the largest manufacturer of electric rickshaws and its spare parts, due to its low labour cost and high production rates. China imports a lot of such electric vehicles to India and Bangladesh, and the thriving industry has led to hundreds of electric rickshaw manufacturers in the country.
Electric rickshaws have been gaining ground in India for a decade now, but until a few years ago, they were mostly imported from China. Thanks to the boom of the electric vehicle industry in India, a lot of local manufacturers like Syndicate Motors, have emerged, and are providing stiff competition to their overseas counterparts.
Electric rickshaws can vary based on body and design depending on if it is a load carrier, which can carry up to 500-1000 kg, or a passenger vehicle. It can vary all the way from having no roof to a full body with windshield and other facilities for the driver and passengers. They are also distinguished based on the controller unit, and voltage supplied by it and its current output; the electrical system used in the Indian version is 48V. The weight of the electric rickshaws differ as well depending on the model, but for the most part, they are extremely lightweight.
Solar electric rickshaws have also been around, but have failed to make any substantial mark. They work with solar panels mounted on the electric rickshaw, and thereby supplying power to the battery. However, in practice, they have proven to be extremely restrictive for daytime usage, and ineffective, in general.
Syndicate Motors manufactures 60% of its electric rickshaw components locally to put emphasis on local manufacturers. Syndicate Motors is a manufacturer of electric vehicles that combat environmental issues and economic issues in India.
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