Thursday, July 3, 2008

Solar powered autorickshaw

Auto Rickshaws, or cycle rickshaws, are a popular mode of human-powered transportation all around the world. The higher tech electric version of the foot-pedalled rickshaws has been gaining popularity recently, as it is an important sustainable mode of transport across developing nations. Now, London-based research and design company Solar Lab is working on a solar-powered rickshaw that will be the first human powered hybrid vehicle - combining pedal power with energy from rooftop photovoltaics.
SolarLab’s rickshaw is a response to the pollution and congestion of London. As a solution to the city’s traffic and emissions woes, their rickshaw will run mostly from power generated by photovoltaics fitted on the roof. The solar energy will produce 75% of the total power needed to drive the vehicle, while the rest will be provided by the driver’s pedal-powert. The physical effort required to drive the rickshaw will be very small.
The solar rickshaw would significantly reduce pollution and CO2 emissions in London. SolarLab estimates that each vehicle could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 2 tons. And, the design of the rickshaw is modular so it can be easily converted into a load-bearing vehicle if necessary.
SolarLab’s rickshaw will be launched next year in. Based on its performance in London, the vehicle could soon be made available in other cities around the world.


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Ranjit Gadgil said...

Cost will be the deciding factor. A Bajaj rickshaw (shown above) costs ~ Rs 90,000 ($1800), so it has to compete with it.
Argument that it will cost less in the long run often does not work.
Government subsidies will be required.
Nothing about performance here. What will its top speed and load carrying capacity be?

Srividya Ramachandran (sri) said...

I think it is more of a research project.And it is being experimented in London. It will take a while with some improvements to come to india. Also considering the road conditions probably a third generation solar rickshaw might make it on the indian roads.... But it is a good start in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

well the idea is an innovative one. when this model will come to the market it will definitely reduce the oil dependence by the public transportation system. in India this model should be a success with the amount of public transportation that is used by the commuters in the cities and the small towns