A battery-operated auto-rickshaw at Ranchi station. Picture by Hardeep Singh
After Adityapur, it’s Ranchi’s turn to hop on to the e-rickshaw.
The battery-operated three-wheelers, which can run for 80km after just eight hours of charge, will roll out in the capital in a few days. But unlike Adityapur where the green autos have been manufactured by a local company, Ranchi entrepreneurs Sitaram Poddar and Aditya Chhaparia are getting the e-fleet from Delhi.
“Battery-run autos are popular in the national capital. Hence, we decided to get the autos from Delhi and sell them here. To begin with, we will get five e-rickshaws in three-four days. Four will be up for sale for ferrying passengers, while the other one will be for carrying goods,” said Poddar.
The businessman, along with partner Chhaparia, will also set up a showroom on Line Tank Road, where the eco-friendly rickshaws will be on display. The price has been fixed at Rs 1.15 lakh.
The e-rickshaw is powered by four batteries, which, if charged for eight hours, will run easily for 80km. In comparison, fuel-driven vehicles give an average mileage of 50-60km.
The dealers will also provide a battery charger at the time of purchase.
Explaining the economics, Poddar said: “Charging the batteries for eight hours will cost around Rs 40 and ensure 80km travel. Thus, for every rupee, one is travelling 2km. This proves to be cost-effective.”
So, what prompted them to introduce green autos here?
Poddar explained that in November, he had gone to Delhi to take part in the international trade fair. There he saw the battery-operated rickshaws. “It was then that we decided to sell such battery-operated rickshaws in Ranchi, where pollution level is very high.”
A few days ago, Poddar, through his charitable organisation Baristh Nagrik Sangh, donated one such three-wheeler to Ranchi railway division for senior citizens. However, the auto, parked at the entrance of the station, is yet to find any passenger. “I am waiting for someone to inaugurate it,” said driver Babu Bhai.