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Battery autos renew green transport hope

They are noise-free and don’t emit smoke. Even though slightly bigger in size, these new fleet of autos can ferry four to six passengers. Apart from being environment-friendly, they are more profitable for operators than their existing three-wheeled counterparts in the city.

With the launch of the battery-operated electronic autorickshaws on Friday, Kolkata took a step towards green transport.

Billed as an alternative to the polluting autos, the new three-wheelers are already running successfully in Delhi. Priced between Rs 60,000 and Rs 1,20,000, they are cheaper than a LPG auto and generate more revenue for the operators, claimed Zafar Faridi, CEO of Dianzi Enterprises that launched the vehicles.

“For a daily expense of Rs 25, the operator can get a return of up to Rs 800-1000 a day. This is much higher compared to the meagre Rs 200-300 that auto operators earn a day now. The three-wheelers can ply long distances and can be driven for 12 hours a day. The batteries can be recharged easily and the cost of maintenance is low,” said Faridi.

Green activist Subhas Datta, who was present at the launch, said the vehicles had two big advantages that made them worth using.

“First, these autos don’t emit smoke for they run on batteries. Secondly, they are noise-free. When we talk about pollution, we tend to ignore sound pollution. But it must be remembered that the noise level in Kolkata is far higher than the recommended 65 decibels. As far as air pollution is concerned, we are still taking the initial steps. We have just switched to LPG-fuelled autos, but polluting vehicles are still plying freely in Kolkata,” said Datta.

He added that if the electronic rickshaws had the back-up of an efficient after-sales service, they could run parallely with the autos. “I have used them in Delhi and was quite impressed. This could pave the way for more green transport in Kolkata,” said Datta.

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