Battery run rickshaw in India. Source: Muhammad Mahdi Karim
Battery run rickshaw in India. Source: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

NEW DELHI: The government is set to invite major Chinese e-rickshaw manufacturers to set up joint ventures in India to manufacture battery run rickshaws for short-distance urban commuting.

The road transport ministry will identify and write to major Chinese manufacturers of batteries and other parts, inviting them to India. The government expects the move will boost its Make in India initiative.

“We’ll be inviting major Chinese manufacturers to set up shop in India. The government will also provide them an ecosystem as sale of these non-polluting vehicles will be huge across the country,” road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday.

Gadkari said the step will create employment opportunities while being cost-effective for buyers.

Currently, e-rickshaws cost Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh with 90 per cent of parts coming from China. According to experts, the industry is pegged to grow over 20 per cent in coming years. The roads ministry is preparing safety norms for the vehicles.

A rickshaw weighs about 300 kg and has a load capacity of 700 kg. It has a maximum speed of 24 km per hour. The range of its battery after each recharge is around 100 km.

The move is part of the government’s plan to convert 10% of all motorised road vehicles into hybrid or e-vehicles. The government also has an objective to provide livelihoods to over two crore families by training two crore e-rickshaw drivers. E-rickshaws are now being approved by the International Centre for Automative Technology (ICAT) for compliance.

E-rickshaws have gained special significance as the government has recognised them as part of the automobile industry.

Gadkari said the government was taking all steps to reduce vehicular emission. The government will also ask auto companies to manufacture engines that can run on ethanol. “My ministry will soon notify standard for vehicles run on flexi-fuel. You’ll be able to run your cars on ethanol (and) that would reduce vehicular pollution by 90 per cent,” he said.