R&D in electric vehicle development started in NARI in 1995 and continued till 2005. A short history of mobility research at NARI has been written and is available here.
Improved Pedal Rickshaw (IMPRA)
NARI was possibly the first Institute anywhere to start working on reengineering the humble cycle rickshaw. It began working on modifying the rickshaws in 1995 and continued this work until 2002. During this time an extremely efficient pedal rickshaw named IMPRA was developed. This rickshaw has been successfully tested in Europe, USA, Canada and India.
Attributes of IMPRA:
- Three speed gears
- Lightweight design weighing ~70 kg.
- Back wheel breaking, better suspension and less aerodynamic drag than the existing rickshaws.
- Can comfortably take 2 passengers on a 6-10% slope.
- The back rest can be arranged in such a manner that a nice long bed can be made on the rickshaw so that the driver can sleep on it at night.
- The life of this rickshaw is estimated to be 7-10 years.
- Expected price Rs.10,000/- in mass production (annual production of 10,000/yr.). Presently it is Rs. 18,000/-
Motor Assisted Pedal Rickshaw (MAPRA )
Our data from discussions with rickshaw pullers in many cities revealed that with a small battery driven motor attached to the improved rickshaw, it may be possible for the puller to go uphill with ease. Besides easing his burden, he can pull the rickshaw to a greater distance thereby increasing his income.
Consequently the modified IMPRA was converted into a motor assisted pedal rickshaw (MAPRA). A patent has been filed on it.
Attributes of MAPRA:
- The rickshaw can take two passengers on a 10% hill at a speed of 8-10 km/hr. On level roads it goes at 14-16 kms/hr.
- It goes 40-45 km per charge. The batteries are charged overnight by a stand alone charger.
- Weight of rickshaw is 129 kgs including batteries.
- The cost of MAPRA is presently Rs. 35,000/-.(2005 prices) However on mass production it is envisaged to be Rs. 25,000/- .
Electric Rickshaw (ELECSHA)
In major cities of India there are petrol and diesel powered three wheelers called autorickshaws. They are some of the most polluting vehicles on Indian roads. Consequently an electric autorickshaw which is completely silent and non-polluting has been designed, built and tested. It is called ELECSHA and till today it has logged more than 35,000 km in trial run.
Attributes of ELECSHA:
- It takes two passengers at speeds of 35-40 km/hr
- It can go to 60-70 km per battery charge.
- ELECSHA has a PMDC motor, lead acid batteries, three speed specially designed gear box and an electronic card for soft start.
- The charging of the batteries is done overnight via a stand alone battery charger,
- Presently the cost of ELECSHA is Rs.1,50,000/- but it is estimated to cost Rs. 70-75,000 in mass production.
- ELECSHA uses 40% less energy than petrol and diesel powered autorickshaws.
NARI will be happy to negotiate transfer of technology of ELECSHA to interested parties..
MANHARA (Motor Assisted NARI HAndicapped RickshAw)
In 2005/2006 NARI developed a very low priced motorized vehicle for physically handicapped persons. It is called MANHARA (motor assisted NARI handicapped rickshaw). MANHARA is motor assisted handpowered vehicle. It is powered by a small electric motor running on batteries, which helps the person to propel it to longer distances. Thus the physically challenged person needs to hand pedal it while the electric motor assists him in the task.There are close to 3-4 million physically handicapped persons in India who have capable hands but need wheel chair for mobility. MANHARA will come as a great blessing for most of them. Presently in India a completely battery operated wheel chair costs, anywhere from Rs.100,000 to 200,000/- ( US$2000 to $4000) and they have to be imported. The idea of MANHARA has came from the very successful work on MAPRA which NARI has pioneered and developed.
Attributes of MANHARA
- Weight 54.5 kg (including batteries). Dimensions of 165 mm (L) X 143 mm (H) X 82 mm (W)
- In one battery charge MANHARA can go to 25-30 km distance at a speed of 10-12 km/hr.
- Very easy to drive and completely silent.
- Has a hood to provide shade to the person.
- Big basket at the back of MANHARA for carrying goods. Besides giving mobility, MANHARA can also allow physically challenged person to use it for running small business like courier service, selling small quantities of produce etc.
- Expected to cost between Rs. 15-18,000/- in mass production. Present cost is Rs. 25,000/- (including batteries and battery charger). These are handcrafted experimental vehicles.
Recently NARI has also developed a complete electric trike for handicapped persons. A Youtube video on it is here.
All the above technologies are available for licensing.