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Mumbai to have electric rickshaws shortly

Mumbai to have electric rickshaws shortly

Mumbai, Jul 23 (UNI) The Maharashtra transport department has decided to permit electric auto-rickshaws and taxis in the state with the Centre lifting ban on electric variants of such vehicles. Licenses for electric auto-rickshaws and taxis will be given to operators having a badge to operate these vehicles. The state government had imposed a ban on electric taxis and rickshaws starting 1997. Presently, there are over two lakh rickshaws and nearly 50,000 taxis fueled by CNG/LPG in the Mumbai metropolitan region. This new decision has increased the possibility of App-based taxis being run on batteries. Prio to the decision, battery operated rickshaws were not permitted to carry passengers or goods; except in accordance with the conditions of a permit granted or countersigned by a Regional or State Transport Authority. Battery operated rickshaws called E-carts or E-rickshaws are basically slow speed vehicles with a speed averaging about 25 km per hour. However, they can be upgraded to move at faster speeds of 60-70 kmph. The proposal of introducing electric rickshaws/taxis is in preliminary stages and licenses will be issued only after these vehicles are approved by the Central Government. The E carts or E rickshaws are basically a replacement to pulled rickshaws. However, their use depends upon the topography of the area. For example, the electric rickshaws will not be able to play on a flyover or a steep road, Assistant Transport Commissioner Sachinkumar Giri said while talking to the mediapersons here. According to Giri, every district has a committee headed by the District Collector to grant licenses. The committee also has to decide on the criteria for granting licenses. Electric rickshaws are widely accepted as an alternative to petrol/diesel/CNG rickshaws. They are three- wheelers pulled by an electric motor ranging from 650-1400 Watts and are manufactured mostly in Bangalore. The electric rickshaws could serve as a low-emission complimentary transport system for the low-income group. However, unless their speed is increased it is unlikely they will be much use in Mumbai. Meanwhile, the Central Government is planning to turn every car, bus, truck, and everything in between, into an electric vehicle by 2030. But the primary roadblock is the high cost of batteries for electric vehicles which could not be offset without subsidies. UNI AAA NP SB 1055

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