June 18, 2024

Rising Popularity of E-Rickshaws in Indian Cities

E-rickshaws, also known as electric rickshaws, are three-wheeled passenger vehicles that are powered by a battery and electric motor. They are becoming an increasingly popular mode of transportation in many Indian cities due to their low operating costs and minimal emissions. Electric tuk-tuks can carry 2-4 passengers and have a maximum speed of around 25 km/h. They offer a green alternative to traditional petrol or diesel auto-rickshaws within city limits.

Growth of the Electric E-rickshaws

The electric E-Rickshaw industry has grown tremendously in India over the last decade. In 2010, it was estimated that only a few thousand electric tuk-tuks were operational in the country. However, latest figures show the number has increased to over 500,000 units. The major drivers for this growth have been lower costs of ownership compared to fuel-powered vehicles. Electric tuk-tuks cost around Rs. 80,000-1,50,000 while their running costs are just 20-30 paise per kilometer. This has made them affordable for drivers as an option for daily commutes. State governments also boosted the sector by exempting electric tuk-tuks from permit requirements which fuelled further demand.

Benefits of E-Rickshaws

Electric tuk-tuks provide several benefits compared to traditional auto-rickshaws. They are more environmentally friendly as they do not emit greenhouse gases or pollutants. This has led many cities to promote them as a way to reduce vehicular emissions. Their operating speeds are suitable for shorter intra-city trips. They are also cheaper to run which keeps fares low for passengers. Additionally, electric tuk-tuks are nearly silent which makes them suitable for dense urban areas. Their battery-based power system is mostly oil import independent which is an added advantage. Their growing numbers have created new jobs for drivers while boosting local economies.

Popularity in Different Cities

Delhi has emerged as a major hub for electric tuk-tuks with estimates of over 100,000 plying on its roads currently. Their population grew rapidly after the city government launched a conversion scheme in 2008. Kolkata has also witnessed a boom where electric tuk-tuks have almost replaced diesel ones in certain areas due to a clampdown on petrol/diesel vehicles. Cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Patna have also seen strong adoption rates in recent times. Even small towns are joining the bandwagon as they provide affordable mobility options for short commutes. State governments are also encouraging their use through subsidies and policy support which is adding to this popularity.

Challenges Faced

While the electric tuk-tuks sector is booming, it continues to face challenges which need to be addressed. The initial investment cost remains high which limits entrepreneurs from entering the business. There is a lack of standardized batteries which impacts performance reliability. Drivers require training since many new ones take to e-rickshaw driving without proper knowledge. Safety remains a concern due to poor quality of some vehicles. Congested roads also lead to frequent breakdowns and accidents. Lack of adequate charging infrastructure is another issue as most charge from standard electric sockets at night. Unplanned parking and irregular timings cause traffic issues in some areas as well.

Initiatives to Support Growth

In order to further promote electric tuk-tuks and address challenges, several measures are being taken. The FAME-II scheme by the government provides subsidies up to Rs. 30,000 per electric tuk-tuks to boost purchases. Efforts are on to develop low-cost indigenized batteries with universal fittings. States are promoting designated charging/parking zones in cities. The Motor Vehicles Act has standardized rules for electric tuk-tuks. Better training modules are educating new drivers. Manufacturers are launching improved second-generation models addressing reliability and safety. Financing options are also getting easier with schemes for drivers. If these initiatives see further progress, electric tuk-tuks certainly have bright prospects to become a mainstay of urban mobility solutions across the nation.

Electric tuk-tuks have emerged as a popular and affordable mode of transportation within Indian cities. Their lower operational costs and minimal emissions make them environment-friendly alternatives to petrol/diesel auto-rickshaws. While facing challenges, initiatives by governments and manufacturers are helping the sector grow towards becoming a major component of sustainable urban mass mobility. As technologies evolve, electric tuk-tuks are poised to revolutionize short-distance transportation needs across urban India if issues around infrastructure, finance and standardization continue to be addressed effectively.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it.