Solar-electric rickshaws in Delhi

On your next trip to India, how will you travel? Train, car, metro? How about in a solar-electric powered cycle rickshaw? Because now you can. solekshaw.png

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, a government body, made a motor powered by a solar powered battery to decrease the effort required to pedal a cycle rickshaw. They call it a Solekshaw. It originally unveiled last year and has been testing in Delhi. [link] The Solekshaw can either be pedaled like a normal rickshaw or run on the solar powered battery for 30-42 miles before it needs to be recharged. Used batteries are recharged and replaced for a small fee at solar-powered stations. [Discovery]

Improvements on the original model are set to debut next year “with better aesthetics, ergonomics, speed and recumbent driving position.” [link]

The Solekshaw is made to carry 2 passengers (or 200 kg) and maxes out at 15 mph, which sounds normal for a cycle rickshaw (though I’m definitely not the best at gauging speed or weight). [link]

Last year it was priced at 22,000 rupees, nearly 3 X the cost of a normal rickshaw (~8,500 rupees). [link] But it appears that GOI is in discussions with banks, NGOs, manufacturers, and corporations to make the solekshaw available for the price of an ordinary rickshaw. Hopefully this will also include programs for drivers to trade-in ordinary rickshaws in exchange for a solekshaw (rickshaw drivers don’t have the thousands of rupees required for even an ordinary rickshaw lying around). [link]

Unlike most solar/electric projects, the Solekshaw isn’t necessarily more environmentally friendly than the machines it’s intended to replace. People powered rickshaws don’t emit harmful fumes into the environment. But, importantly, these environmentally savvy machines have huge social and health benefits for rickshaw drivers who are often socially and economically vulnerable. One driver said,

“”Earlier, when people hailed us it was like, ‘Hey you rickshaw puller!’ Police used to harass us, slapping fines even abusing us for what they called wrong parking. Now people look at me with respect.” [Discovery]


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13 Responses to “Solar-electric rickshaws in Delhi”

  1. Dirk Zins says:

    Really love idea. Perhaps solar panel information would help you save money.

  2. Dirk Zins says:

    Really love idea. Perhaps solar panel information would help you save money.

  3. Bapi Saha says:

    I am a member of an NGO , I want bring Solar-electric rickshaws for poor rickshawala of our local area,how can it possible.Is here any government projects for it.

  4. Bapi Saha says:

    I am a member of an NGO , I want bring Solar-electric rickshaws for poor rickshawala of our local area,how can it possible.Is here any government projects for it.

  5. ped-hl says:

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  7. Dear Mr. Saha,

    I do realise I am late by a 'few' years in guiding you to the source, if not you maybe others will find this useful! You can contact the state nodal agency at your place, normally they have a district level officer who can help you out.

  8. Bringing the solar electric Rickshaw is really a great step towards Renewable Energy alternatives. Companies like Raysexperts are also doing very good work in the development of Solar power projects.

  9. Children are our upcoming generation so we give them the right opportunities and values about the education, education enable them to find out the question that arise in their minds, they build a positive attitude in their selves. They become the successful members of the community and lead a successful life.

  10. Gem Energy says:

    Take into account the money which you send for your power companies every month. How do you need to keep that money in your pocket? Changing to solar powered energy can do that in your case. As soon as you remove the energy production, the bucks you used to pay to the power company will always be in your pocketbook.

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  13. Maple Leaf says:

    Soooo cool! I woke up and later in the day I started thinking about this stuff. I found your site on Google and it totally answered my questions. Thanks mucho much!

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