Chinese e-rickshaws on Indian roads without homologation, Terra R6 the Japanese choice
Lok Sabha passed the Bill with a voice vote for E-rickshaw regulation for affordable last mile connectivity. Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari informed the House that E-rickshaws and E-carts are mandated to follow requirements related to displaying registration marks, size of letters and numerals of the registration mark, transfer of ownership and validity of certificates and fitness.
State governments are to register E-rickshaws according to amended rules. E-rickshaws have been on Delhi roads since 2012 but did not have registration numbers, and were thus not regulated.
Nitin Gadkari says with technology improvement, value addition to vehicles is warranted. He hopes more manually pulled cycle-rickshaws would upgrade to electric powered three-wheeled vehicles. The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) commissioned by Transport Department of Delhi government, recommends the government treats E-rickshaws as motor vehicles.
Safety of the passengers and road users is a high priority. Excluding the driver, an E-rickshaw is to carry only 4 passengers and 40 Kgs of luggage. Motor power is pegged at not more than 2000 Watts and a speed of 25 kmph is allowed.
E-rickshaw’s are also plying in West Bengal where they’re popularly called ‘Toto’. Speaking to drivers there presents a slightly different story. All vehicles in use are assembled in factories in the state. There’s no speed limit, and passenger count can easily be 7. Vehicles purchased aren’t being bought through standard auto loans, but are a full cash upfront undertaking with cost of vehicles being close to Rs 1.20 lakhs. Drivers plying such vehicles are able to make upto Rs 700 on a good day with a small part of earnings being spent on charging and maintenance costs each day. Regulated speed limits and registration numbers are still not mandated. While E-rickshaws are not entirely a ‘Jugaad innovation’ since parts are sourced from China, but assembly functions are increasingly looking at localisation for e-rickshaw body parts. It’s the engines and charging hardware that’s mostly imported.
Terra Motors considers India an important country for the company, and as is evident, the multitude of e-rickshaws on Indian roads are from China, and without any homologation. Terra looks to enter the electric three wheelers market in India, having shown a product at the Delhi Auto Expo earlier this year.
Terra R6 is now testing in the certificated agency, and the company aims to sell 10,000 units within 2015. Terra is developing 2-3 types of electric three wheelers built for safety and durability, including the e-rickshaw segment at a competitive price. Terra R6 can go 100 kms on full charge, and can sit 6 passengers alongwith a driver. Reverse running function ensures its easy to turn, and easy to park. A rain cover offers occupants protection, and R6 has a minmum turning radius of 3.2 m.
Terra Motors’ looks to deliver high quality electrics vehicles (EV) synonymous with Japanese manufacturing processes. Market research over 2 years gives the company a direction in developing a power train including battery, motors, controllers and chargers backed by the company’s strong research and technology background for EV’s to offer products that exceed market expectations. Terra will also ensure service support though dealers to enrich customer experience.