Calcutta, June 19: City-based companies are looking to tap the growing demand for e-vehicles in the north and the east.
"With an increasing awareness about pollution, people have now developed an eagerness for environment-friendly vehicles. This has led to a rise in demand for e-vehicles, especially rickshaws, and has created a favourable business opportunity for us," said Manoj Beswal, executive director of Nezone Group.
Nezone, which primarily makes steel tubes, has set up two manufacturing units in Dankuni and Guwahati. The facilities have a capacity to produce 2,000 rickshaws per month.
The Motor Vehicles Act, 1989 was amended in March 2014 to incorporate e-rickshaws as vehicles. The government amended the act again in March 2015, detailing a separate category for e-rickshaws, which mandated an approval by the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) or the Automotive Research Association of India.
E-rickshaws then need to be registered with the state regional transport offices. As of April 2016, there are 280 ICAT-approved e-rickshaw companies.
Calcutta High Court, on June 17, 2016, directed the state government not to allow illegal e-vehicles to ply on the streets.
"The e-rickshaw market has seen a triple-digit growth in the last three and a half years. In 2012, the size of the market was around 40,000 units, nationally. Today, unofficially, the figure stands at about 1 million units," said Soham Misra, CEO, Electrie.
City-based Kirti Solar, engaged in the business of solar panels and LED lighting system, too, ventured into this sector with their brand "Electeca".
"Most of our products are made of fibre glass which makes it fireproof and rust-free. We already have our presence in seven cities across the country, including Calcutta," said Aditya Bhagchandka, director of Electeca.