Rickshaws are arguably one of the most popular means of transport in India, but they are extremely noisy, pollute the environment and the fares are always on the rise owing to higher running costs. Terra, the Japanese company which unveiled three motorcycles at the expo earlier this year, plans to change that with its new electric three wheeler offering , the R6. The company says that it will launch the vehicle in 2015 in the Indian market.
Toru Tokushige, CEO and founder, Terra Motors said, "There is huge three wheeler market in Asia, for example in India. So we'll release the R6 with a strong durability and safety."
Measuring 2,950mm x 1,090mm x 1,800mm, the R6 can carry a total of seven occupants (six passengers and the driver) and can attain a maximum speed of 30kmph. The company claims a seven hour time for the battery to charge completely. An 80 per cent quick charge is said to take 2-3 hours. The company says that the R6 can pull tight 3.2 metre radius turn with a motorcycle-like handlebar.
Let's talk about the benefits then - electric vehicles are super silent, don't emit fumes or smoke, usually leave no by products and have low running/maintenance costs. Terra says that with an average run of 100km per day, yearly savings can amount to a substantial Rs 82,429 which would otherwise be spent on conventional fuel.
Electric vehicles are still new in India and the price-point would play a major factor in the adaptability of this rickshaw. Ideologies and mindsets can be massively swayed by pricing the product competitively. Electric vehicles have failed to make a dent on the market thanks to expensive batteries that are usually imported, the heavy taxes that are imposed and the lack of subsidies from the government adding to the vehicles being pricier. A classic example will be the very capable Mahindra Reva e2o. All said, this electric three wheeler looks very promising with the company targeting sales of around 10,000 units a year. The success however would be based on the pricing, which is yet to be revealed.