E – rickshaws or Electric rickshaws have been becoming more popular in most parts of the globe since 2008. In India, e – rickshaws began to gain popularity since 2011.
As these rickshaws faced a ban by the Indian government in the capital city of Delhi, the increase in their number failed. But, still they are widely used in most parts of the country.
On 8 October,2014, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had notified the rules to regulate the e- rickshaws by making important amendments under the Motor Vehicles Rules of 1989. In March 2015, the Parliament passed the amendments and finally, legalized the use of electric rickshaws.
Recently, the transport department decided to introduce these e-rickshaws in four major cities of Maharashtra – Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Nashik.
Now, that these new age vehicles will be available on the streets soon, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of e-rickshaws.
Advantages of e-rickshaws
1. Eco – friendly – E-rickshaws can be the best alternative to petrol or diesel run vehicles as they are operated on battery. These rickshaws do not emit smoke and thus, will not contribute to the increasing air pollution. The batteries which will be used for the functioning of these rickshaws can be effectively recycled and thus, will solve the problem of battery disposal.
2. Economical – E-rickshaws are comparatively cheap and can be easily afforded by a common man. Passengers will have to pay a less transport charge. It is cost effective not only for the consumers but also for the owners. The batteries can be easily recharged from home or from any place that provides a proper voltage.
3. Free from noise pollution – E-rickshaws are free from creating noise pollution as they do not emit any sound. Passengers can have a smooth and comfortable ride.
4. Livelihood – E-rickshaws provide a means of livelihood for the common as well as illiterate people. Without investing much of money, the e-rickshaw drivers can earn a good livelihood.
5. Safety – E-rickshaws involve less risk when compared to the other fuel operating vehicles. They can cause less accident as they are slower and lighter than an auto rickshaw. There is a chance of explosion in the case of fuel operating vehicles.
6. Easy maintenance – As they use electricity, they do not require fuel to operate the engines. E-rickshaws are free from an engine and a gear box and thus, the burden of maintenance is reduced. The motor which is used in these rickshaws is smaller and the battery is placed below it. Hence, maintaining them is quite easier.
Disadvantages of e-rickshaws
1. Less speed – E-rickshaws are usually slow in speed and it runs around 30-35 kmph and thus, it is unable to meet the speed of other vehicles. It is not a preferred mode of transportation during an emergency period.
2. Less weight – E-rickshaws are lighter in weight and thus, it would face difficulty to cope up with the larger wight vehicles. There might be a chance of the rickshaw getting upside down. In India, one can imagine how the drivers would ride an overloaded e-rickshaw.
3. Harmful batteries – One of the major disadvantage is the issue of batteries. Today, most of the batteries used are lead acid batteries. The deep discharge of lead acid batteries are presently imported in India and these can be very harmful.
4. No proper guidelines – There are no proper rules and guidelines fixed for the functioning of e-rickshaws. The drivers are not fully trained to drive the e-rickshaws. This is a matter of serious concern in the society.
5. Space Consuming – The current design of e-rickshaw is quite space consuming. This would lead to traffic jams.
6. Rise in pollution and cost due to alternative energy sources – Even though the e-rickshaws would not consume diesel or petrol, it would be difficult to contain the cost and pollution. The electricity required to charge these vehicles would be produced from some or the other source. Burning more coal or making more dams or nuclear reactors would still contribute to environment pollution.