Bangalore firm gears up to make electric 3-wheelers
Oct 20,2009 , 8:30AM
The great Indian auto-rickshaw is set to get a major overhaul, with Bangalore based Go Green BOV (battery-operated vehicle) designing the country’s first electric three-wheeler.
The battery operated “auto”, being designed with the objective of improving the work conditions of the hitherto ignored “autowala”, would have a host of features such as ergonomically designed and climate controlled seats, improved navigation systems, and tracking devices, and most importantly, zero noise emission, says Dhivik Ashok, executive director of Go Green BOV.
In addition to such flamboyant next-gen features and environmental benefits, the electric auto would also come with the promise of reducing the humble autowala’s daily outgo on his vehicle. According to Ashok, the Go Green three-wheeler would save up to 95% of the daily cost for the auto-drivers, going the same distance at an average speed of 45-55 kmph. “Usually an auto-driver in a city like Bangalore rides 150 km a day and spends around Rs 300-Rs 350 on gas," pointed out Ashok. "With an electric three-wheeler he can go the same distance at roughly Rs 15 per day which is just 5% of his daily cost.”
So what's the price for the upgrade? Ashok says the company has not yet worked out the pricing, but expects it to be on par with the contemporary LPG powered three-wheeler that is priced in the vicinity of Rs 1.60 lakh.
“Almost 90% of the design and the technology that goes into this will be indigenous. It’s taking a little longer to source components and finalise the design. We expect to freeze the final design, pricing and all our research soon and we will try to go into production in our plant which is coming up in Rayalpad by mid to end of 2010,” says Ashok.
The company is also gearing up to bring the first two of its range of seven two-wheelers by the end of this year. While Go Green will initially assemble the parts imported from Germany and China, it will start manufacturing these two-wheelers locally through a technology transfer sometime next year, says Ashok.
The two-wheelers, which will be available in two variants in the below 250 watt segment, and five in the 250-watt-plus segment, to be launched in February 2010, will be priced in the Rs 28,500-Rs 38,000 range. Ashok says, “We are looking at sales of about 20,000 vehicles by June 2010 and by December 2010 we are looking at 55,000 vehicles plying on Indian roads.
But is there enough demand for electric bikes in the country to merit those projections? Ashok says, “According to some reports, India may have to pay Rs 110 per litre of petrol by 2015. People are going to have to look at other sources of energy....