Around 400 e-rickshaws in Jabalpur have been fitted with solar panel with the larger objective of such panels replacing the city’s entire fleet of diesel-powered three-wheelers.
New Delhi: Rickshaws have been India’s favourite mode of public transportation for decades. A common sight in both big and small cities in the country, three-wheelers have added to comfort and convenience of passengers. Their increasing numbers though has also been identified as a contributing factor in the ever-rising air pollution. And that is where e-rickshaws – especially those powered by solar energy – promise to bring about a massive change.
Automation company ABB recently introduced solar-power technology to some 400 e-rickshaws plying on the roads of Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh with the larger aim of replacing the entire fleet of about 5,000 diesel-powered rickshaws in the city. According to a study by the company, the renewable energy will help the city save 46,000 barrels of fuel each year and prevent 17,000 tonnes of CO2 emission annually. “We are creating renewable-based infrastructure for the e-rickshaws at nine locations throughout the city,” said Sachin Vishvakarma, CEO, Jabalpur City Transport Services Ltd. “For this project, we generate solar power – some of which is fed back to the grid.”
A vast majority of three-wheelers in the country run on fossil fuels and/or CNG. Adding solar-power to the fast increasing e-rickshaw fleet is expected to not just help bring down running cost but also cut back on environmental damage in a country where auto rickshaws alone burn 34 million barrels of fuel and emit 12 million tonnes of CO2 each year. And with some estimates revealing that 750,000 rickshaws are added to Indian roads every year, these numbers can only go up unless sustainable and green technologies are incorporated.