With the view of moving towards a more eco-friendly means of transportation, OK Play India has launched the country’s first indigenously designed and developed e-rickshaw. OK Play India manufactures plastic moulded industrial and automobile products and is best known for the toys it manufactures.
After about two years of in-house research and development, the company has launched E-Raaja – a zero emission, plastic body e-rickshaw.
According to OK Play India’s Managing Director, Rajan Handa, E-Raaja has been made completely in India unlike other e-rickshaws that use about 95% Chinese components. The company will produce these rickshaws from its… manufacturing units in Sohna, Haryana and Ranipet, Tamil Nadu. This way, they plan to cater to markets in both north and south India. Both the plants have a production capacity of 3,00,000 e-rickshaws per year.
“We are extremely happy to launch the E-Raaja at a time when India is moving towards a pollution-free vehicular transport solution,” said Rajan Handa.
The rickshaw weighs 320 kg and has a load capacity of 700 kg. It has a maximum dimension is 2800 x 1000 x 1800, and a maximum speed of 24 km/hr. The range of its battery after each charge is around 80 km. The product will be available in both hydraulic disc brake and drum brake designs. The highlights of the rickshaw include LED lights, comfortable leg space, aerodynamic grooves, and comfortable arm rest. It also has a personal storage area for the driver, a forward/reverse switch, a large advertising space, and ergonomic seats.
Priced at Rs. 1.15-1.25 lakh ($1900), the rickshaw E- Raaja has been approved by International Centre for Automative Technology (ICAT). Handa added that the plastic body has several advantages over the conventional metal body as it is lightweight and maintenance free. The plastic can also be moulded into different permanent colours. They are more durable, weather-proof, and easy to install.
OK Play India wants to work with CSR departments of different companies so that they can help manual rickshaw drivers in migrating to e-rickshaws. The company has a global patent for the product and it is also designing rickshaws with solar panels.
One of the first attempt to design electric rickshaws was done by Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute in late 1990s. They modified the cycle rickshaw and then converted to an electric one. In India they are popularly known as e-rickshaws and are widely spread all over India. They started to gain popularity in India since 2011.The design is now much different from cycle rickshaws. They have provided with service to city and has also contribution in providing livelihood to people in India. Due to their low cost and high efficiency they are accepted on the Indian streets, but government policies have been threatening the e-rickshaw and banned them in the capital city Delhi, but due to increase in number failed to put them off the streets. They are still widely used in Delhi and other parts of India. The number in Delhi as per government officials by April 2012 was over 100,000 in Delhi but 200,000 is the widely reported number in Delhi.
In India almost all claimed to be manufacturing the vehicle are merely importing it from China and assembling them. Though the manufacturers in India are less in number, manufacturers claim that in the vehicle production is less and cost is a little at higher but they offer higher quality products and also offer services and warranty, these manufacturers market the product as an Indian make and are also popular because of uniqueness in their product and providing a branded better quality product.
The FRP body are manufactured in India due to high shipment cost from China they are cheaper to Indian manufacturers, where a Chinese version of FRP Rickshaw will cost 0.5 times more than an Indian make. The cost varies from Rs.90000 to 130000. The cost is added due to battery(Lead Acid battery) which costs around Rs.17000-24000.
There are issues with services due to lack of established companies and just about everyone importing and selling them from China, resulting in problems to their customers, this is the reason consumers have started gaining knowledge and prefer more durable versions from well-established companies and Indian manufacturers.
A lot of work and research on electric rickshaws by Indian companies have led to development of nearly all components of rickshaw. Indian-made parts for existing diesel two wheelers are also being used as an alternative to specially developed rickshaw parts.
E-rickshaw law in India
Initially e-rickshaws were unregulated by any central law in India. However, the Delhi High Court, banned running of e-rickshaws in Delhi on 31 July 2014, over safety concerns raised through a public interest litigation. In a rally held for regularization of e rickshaws in Delhi transport minister Nitin Gadkari said that “municipal corporations would regularize e-rickshaws by registering them for a fee of just Rs.100. After registering the e-rickshaw, corporations will have to issue identity cards to drivers so they can earn their livelihood easily.” Once the policy was in place, the corporation, along with traffic police, would have fix the amount of fine to be imposed for violation of the policy. However, the policy was never implemented but was later implemented by Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP Party. Certain states like Tripura had regularised the e-rickshaws through municipal bylaws or through state legislation. In March 2015, the Indian Parliament passed an amendment to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2015 legalizing E-Rickshaws. By July 2015 Battery Rickshaw are available for travel in many cities, now certified to ply with Registration No. plate by R.T.O. with insurance.
|1||Cost||Rs 85,000 (US$ 1,300)||Rs 1.68 lakh (US$ 2,580)|
|2||Output||Clean & Green||Polluting if not CNG|
|3||Fare||Rs 10 for a distance between 2-5 km||Rs 25 for first 2 km, Rs 8 for every additional km|
|4||Law||No Particular law||Comes under Motor Vehicles Act 1988|
|5||Speed||25 kmph (legal) & 35kmph (illegal)||60-70Kmph|
|6||Carrying Capacity||4 Person (Legally)
6-8 Persons (illegally)
|3 Persons (Legally) &
5 Persons (Illegally)
|7||License||No License Needed||License & Badge mandatory|
Deen Dayal E-rickshaw Scheme: It legalises operation of e-rickshaws
* E-rickshaws with motor power up to 650W would now be considered as non-motorised vehicles and will not come under the ambit of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
* The driver of e-rickshaws will be the owner of the vehicle
* No quality standard testing will be required
* Four people can travel in an e-rickshaw at a time and 25-50 kg of luggage can be transported on these battery-operated vehicles
* Registration of e-rickshaws will be carried out by municipal corporations on payment of Rs 100
* Municipal corporations will issue identity cards for e-rickshaw drivers and will formulate state policies along with police. They will also decide on the number of e-rickshaws that will be allowed to ply
* E-rickshaw owners to get loans at 3 per cent interest without producing a guarantee
‘Before this, I have never ridden even a bicycle’
Meena has never ridden even a bicycle in her life. But that did not stop her from getting into the drivers’ seat of an e-rickshaw 10 months ago to fend for her family. Now, she confidently ferries passengers around Tagore Garden.
Before the e-rickshaw came her way, Meena was working as a domestic help, struggling to make ends meet. With no husband to support her, Meena decided to buy an e-rickshaw to earn more. She bought one with the help of “aunties” in whose houses she used to work as a help. Now, she earns between Rs 500 and Rs 600 a day.
“I had three children to support. I saw e-rickshaws plying on the road and decided to purchase one 10 months ago. I took a loan from the “aunties” in whose houses I worked in as a help. My brother taught me how to operate the vehicle for a few weeks. Then, I started ferrying the “aunties” around for practice. Now I work from 7 am to 6 pm and have enough money to support my family,’’ Meena says.
Apart from the basic lessons her brother gave her, Meena has had no formal training in driving any kind of vehicle. “The first week was tough. To drive on congested roads is difficult. So I now stick to a known route,” she says.