Reva and Autorickshaw?

[cross posted at Praja-Bangalore]

There is this one thing I was hoping would happen, but it never did. Why did the promoters and makers of Reva (Maini) never try to push electric vehicles as an alternative to present-day auto-rickshaws?

An auto-rickshaw costs around Rs 1.3 lakhs today. 4 stroke ones would be a little more expensive than that. Most metros will sooner or later be pushing for a rickshaw overhaul, which as per today’s plans is an upgrade to cleaner engines running on CNG or four strokes.

What if they could produce a stripped down Reva – even a 3 wheeler would do – and bring the cost to under Rs 2 lakhs? And then, push the government for subsidies etc to further reduce the price for buyers. You get clean ‘engine’, and no noise, a valuable guard against these complaints of noise pollution that are growing louder by the day. Plus, lower running costs should keep the operators happy.

Talking about upfront costs, consider this. The other day, I heard an EV industry insider say that an EV maker has designed electric auto that could cost slightly less than a regular Bajaj autorickshaw!

Yes, this would require charging stations, but this work is no different from setting up CNG refueling stations. Yes, there would be some R&D work needed to ensure electric autos go 100-150 km per charge. But I am only wondering if Maini group, or any EV makers ever thought seriously about replacing the good old autos.

Makes sense, or not? Or is the EV economics not as simple as that?

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