Neetu Nigam of TFT spoke with Rajiv Arora: Founder Member of Electric Rickshaws Manufacturers Association & Organizer of EV-Expo 2015, New Delhi; approximate transcript of the interview follows.
TFT: On behalf of TFT, I would like to Congratulate you on your successful exhibition, stakeholders are feeling good, what lies in future after this show?
Rajiv Arora – Much obliged to you. Presently we are planning to arrange similar exhibition in Kolkata on the same subject during May 2016, and then coming back again to Delhi in Dec 2016 to demonstrate huge scope of E-Auto rickshaws.
TFT : Government considers E-Rickshaws as good income source for the poor families, at the same time these rickshaws are very costly to buy, your take?
Rajiv Arora – We have raised this issue with the Government and they have finding a way to reduce the cost of purchase. The Government likewise wants to apply subsidy on such purchases in the coming days.
TFT : But even though they rework the costs , you need a lot of electrical charging stations to facilitate smooth rides. Don’t you think this will be a huge challenge?
Rajiv Arora – The Government has vision to take care of the issue of shortage of power in a few years. There will be more power generation that will deal with this issue. Government might also extend a low cost power for charging of e-rickshaw batteries.
Furthermore, Mr. Nitin Gadkari ( Minister Incharge) has guaranteed during his inaugural discourse that the Government will soon avail charging stations. Also, manufacturing designers are likewise chipping away at solar-based E-Rickshaws and if that trial is fruitful then every issue will be tackled consequently.
TFT : In this exhibition all rickshaws are LWV. How will they survive since overloading is very common in India?
Rajiv Arora – Mr. Gadkari , during inauguration of this event has announced that Government will soon give permission to vehicles that are are big and more than one ton.
TFT : E-vehicles are also not a absolute pollution free vehicles. The battery, which is being used, are also not environment friendly. The gases used by these batteries are also not good for health?
Rajiv Arora – We know these aspects, which is why the Government is planning for lithium batteries. Soon you will find environment friendly batteries attached with these E-Rickshaws.
TFT : But lithium batteries are very costly therefore the cost will go up. What is the solution for that?
Rajiv Arora – Actually ISRO is working on this. They will provide low cost batteries in comparison to the existing ones in India and internationally. Later Government will pay the subsidy of around Rupees 70,000. Therefore, the cost of batteries will remain same for buyers.