Solar vehicles to replace 'jugaad' vans in Sundarbans

To protect the ecologically-fragile islands of Sundarbans from noise and air pollution caused by motorised 'jugaad' vans, an alternative public transport model has been built using solar-powered electric vehicles.

Research body 'The Energy and Resources Institute' (TERI) and Paris-based Mlinda Foundation has developed the new model under which 50 solar vehicles would soon be launched in Patharpratima block of Sundarbans with consent from the West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WBREDA).

Locally known as 'Vano', the motorised rickshaw vans are so far the only form of public transport available for 40 lakh people living in the Sundarbans delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site three-hours drive away from Kolkata.

Assembled with improvised arrangements, also known as 'jugaad' technology, it is powered by a diesel engine that uses an adulterated mixture of diesel, kerosene, naphtha, used engine oil, etc which gives out highly polluting emissions.

Under the pilot project, TERI would roll out 50 solar vehicles made by Tata Motors along with two solar PV based charging stations in a fringe island of the Sundarbans.

"This electric rickshaw can accommodate eight people and after getting charged with solar energy for 4-5 hours at the station, the 20 Ah battery can run for 40-50 kms in a day," TERI's Parimita Mohanty told PTI.

The charging station would be equivalent of a petrol pump and its 500W of solar module would charge the rickshaws.

Once the project is successfully demonstrated in the first phase, TERI would engage social entrepreneurs to scale up the model in Sundarbans.

"We want to make it a commercially viable model as we will ask the rickshaw operators to buy the vehicles," Mohanty said.

The cost of the solar rickshaw would be around Rs 4-5 lakh while the charging station would cost around a lakh.

"We did a trial study with two such vehicles for three months to understand how these rickshaws can be run in the region after which we came up with this model," the TERI researcher said.

Besides zero emissions, the solar vehicles would be noiseless too.

Post new comment

E-mail ID will not be published
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Copy the characters (respecting upper/lower case) from the image.

EDITORIAL OF THE DAY

  • The govt needs to spend its cash without being frugal or wasteful

    Increased government spending can provide a temporary stimulus to demand and output. This is Economics 101.

FC NEWSLETTER

Stay informed on our latest news!

INTERVIEWS

Sarthak Raychaudhuri

vice-president, HR, Asia South Whirlpool of India

GV Nageswara Rao

MD & CEO, IDBI Federal Life

Timothy Moe

Goldman Sachs

TODAY'S COLUMNS

Roopen Roy

Livability as a competitive advantage

Some CEOs and policymakers argue forcefully that distance is of ...

Rajgopal Nidamboor

The submarine element of your mind

We are all aware of the power of our will ...

Gautam Gupta

Retailers have it tough, thanks to e-commerce

For the past few months our focus has been on ...

INTERVIEWS

William D. Green

Chairman & CEO, Accenture