e-autos undergoing pre-launch testing

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Eco-friendly 3-wheelers will offer reduced running cost

An electric three-wheeler is being fine-tuned for commercial production in the State with a view checking the air pollution caused by fossil-fuel-powered autorickshaws and achieving the target set for 2030 by the Policy on Electric Mobility.

The white-blue-coloured ‘green auto’, rolled out by the public-sector Kerala Automobiles Limited (KAL), is undergoing the certification process at the Pune-based Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), an autonomous body affiliated to the Union Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.

Powered by Lithium-ion technology, the environmental-friendly three-seater autorickshaw offers increased savings, superior ride quality, and comfort for drivers and passengers. The zero emission vehicle with fibre body and a 2-kV motor can travel up to 100-110 km on single charging. The battery takes three hours and 15 minutes to be fully charged.

The e-autorickshaw, having a weight of 295 kg, can attain a speed of 55 km an hour. The KAL promises a life of four years for the Indian-make battery that uses German technology. The running cost per km will come to 50 paise, lower than the ₹1.30-₹1.40 a km for petrol/diesel-powered vehicles.

Dwindling business

“It is the first e-autorickshaw from the public sector. The ban on diesel autorickshaws in the National Capital Region and the dwindling business lead us to this project. It is the result of the efforts of a six-member team for five months,” KAL managing director

The e-auto is being manufactured at KAL’s manufacturing plant at Aralumoodu, near Neyyattinkara, where diesel-powered three-wheelers are now produced. “The plant can roll out 10,000 e-autos annually with the existing infrastructure and we see a huge market as the country advances toward electric mobility,” he said.

Initially, the KAL is eyeing the cities of Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode. Of the 3,000 new permits to be issued, 2,000 will be for electric ones.

The State targets one million electrict vehicles by 2022 and a ‘pilot fleet’ of 2,00,000 two-wheelers, 50,000 three wheelers, 1,000 goods carriers, 3,000 buses and 100 ferry boats by 2020. The KAL MD said that one of the key features of the e-auto that was to be priced at ₹2.20 lakh was that it could be charged at home.

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