In a county which hovers at the top of the list of the most air pollution in the world, the idea of the electronic rickshaw is not about the colour of the three-wheeler but about a vehicle that runs on clean energy.
The Pakistan Ministry of climate change is launching electric rickshaw to reduce carbon emissions in line with ‘Green Pakistan’ campaign. The e-rickshaw was rolled out in a special ceremony held in Lahore, last week. It is manufactured by Sazgar Engineering Works, an auto company, however, e-rickshaw has not yet been introduced in the market as Pakistan has not enforced electric vehicles policy.
According to sources associated with the industry, e-rickshaw will be launched in Pakistan after the government introduce electric vehicle policy, which the ministry says, will be fully launched in the country by the end of this year which will boost the concept of pollution-free vehicles in the country.
According to the manufacturer, it is the first e-rickshaw, indigenously produced by Sazgar industry in Pakistan. Only a few parts like the battery and controller have been imported. “The entire rickshaw is made in Pakistan and designed in Pakistan,” Mian Ali, an employee of the company, told BBC Urdu.
He added they battery and motor can be made in Pakistan as soon as the electric vehicle policy is launched. Ali points out that in this electric rickshaw, which is currently designed as a model, the battery is installed in place of engine which is powered by the battery and controls the performance of the engine.
How will it be charged?
The electric rickshaw has a 48-volt battery, three kV motor and controller. They are located under the engine seat, the rickshaw driver’s seat. It can be charged with a wire underneath. According to the company, it can be charged at the home, office or special charging point. The company claims that this electric rickshaw can cover up to 170km in five hours. However, with riders, it has a maximum speed of 80km / h.
Will E-Rickshaw’s Ride Be Cheaper?
The company claims its ride will be cheaper than regular three-wheelers. At present, most rickshaws in Pakistan operate on petrol, LPG or CNG. Due to the gradual rise in petrol and gas prices, their fare has also increased, which has upset the commuters. Ali says the rickshaw driver will charge less as his operational cost will be less than a normal rickshaw.
“The e-rickshaw will cover the distance in 1 electricity unit which the normal rickshaw covers in 1-litre petrol. One unit of electricity is 20 to 21 rupees while the litre of petrol is worth Rs 117. So this is your direct savings,” claims the company.
Ali says it has ‘less moving parts’ so it will cost less. The oil doesn’t have to be changed, it has no pistons and clutch plates that go into the engine.’
E-rickshaw will be ‘expensive’
The electric rickshaw is not yet available for purchase in the market. This is the reason why its price could not be determined but it is said that its price will be much higher than the normal auto rickshaw.
The manufacturer has not given a clear history as to when this rickshaw will be introduced in the market and is looking forward to the government electric vehicle policy implementation and duty-exemption, after which they will be in a position to determine its price however the company has admitted that it will be a bit expensive at first. In addition, the company says they can convert the ordinary rickshaw into electric rickshaw.
Air pollution caused by traffic
Supporters of E-vehicles argue that the burning of petrol, diesel and other biological fuels creates environmental pollution. According to a UN report on air pollution, about 43% of pollution is emitted from the transport sector in Pakistan. Citing the same report, Rafi Alam, a lawyer and activist working on environmental issues, says the quality of gasoline and other available fuel in Pakistan is also not up to the standard. He expressed the hope that with the help of E-Rickshaw Level of pollution could be reduced. He urged that cities should ban old vehicles and rickshaws that cause air pollution and help drivers buy new technology so that our future can be safe.
Pakistan’s announced draft electric vehicle policy calls for the promotion of electric-powered motorcycles, rickshaws and buses to eliminate pollution caused by road traffic. However, no action has been taken so far in this regard.
It is pertinent to mention here that according to the draft of Pakistan’s electric vehicle policy, the government will purchase 1,000 electric buses in the next five years and run them on the roads with the help of private companies.
It also said that by 2030, 30% of the country’s vehicles will be electric, while some local CNG stations will be made electric charging units.