The need for sustainable forms of transport are ever increasing. With this in mind, a Kochi-based entrepreneur has built what he calls the solar e-rickshaw. It has hit the roads on August 16.

Georgekutty Kariyanappally, the brain behind this innovation, says that excessive pollution through conventional vehicles and autos inspired him to create a vehicle that would use renewable energy and have no carbon emissions. Kariyanappally has spent his last 16 years creating products such as a solar poultry incubator and a solar cow milking machine. He thinks that with its abundance of bright sunlight, solar power is the way to go for India.

His new product, the solar e-rickshaw, he feels, will make public transport more affordable for Kerala’s largest population – its working class.

He explains the math. if usually a driver pays INR 250 as rent for a rickshaw everyday and INR 250 for diesel, he ends up making INR 1000. Which is an earning of INR 500 per day. But with the solar rickshaw, which will be available at INR 125,000, the driver can save INR 500 every day!

The rickshaw has been built with a tie-up with a vehicle design and manufacturing company and then completed in Kochi. The rickshaws can be charged when stationary and is equipped with a capacity of 250 watts.

At present, the service has started with 16 rickshaws and Kariyanappally has got an order of 100 rickshaws from a bakery in Trichur. Bangalore is his preferred destination to set up a manifacturing hub, as it is a city that is centrally located to most southern cities. His plan is to launch these rickshaws in cities in the South, as he feels that the region lags behind in comparison to North India.

In the north, Delhi in particular, one finds several electric rickshaws plying in several areas.

We wish Mr. Kariyanappally and his solar rickshaw project all the best!

Story first posted on India Climate Dialogue