In 1996, The first electric vehicle i.e. Three Wheeler VIKRAM SAFA was developed by Scooters India Pvt Ltd, Lucknow  and approximately 400 vehicles were made and sold. These vehicles ran on 72 volt lead acid battery.


“Vikram EV :  the first zero emission electric (battery-driven) 3-wheeler of the world”

Former US President Clinton during his visit to Taj Mahal in India was shown this pollution-free vehicle as Mr. Berry of USAID briefed him about various zero emission products being developed in India.

In 1999, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd. Launched its first electric three wheeler and also launched a new company, based in Coimbatore, in 2001, to make and sell electric vehicles named Bijlee. In 2004, MEML was closed down due to lack of demand.

Image result for mahindra bijlee

Mahindra again started at Haridwar plant in 2006 and continues to produce electric vehicles as per market demand.

In 2000, BHEL developed an eighteen seater electric bus. Its power pack consisted of an AC Induction Motor and 96V Lead acid battery pack. Some 200 electric vans were built and run in Delhi, with monetary support from MNES. The major concern with these vehicles was their poor consistency, low life and very high cost of battery.

In 2001, Bajaj Auto ltd, Pune, had also demonstrated their 3 seater electric rickshaw. The vehicle used advance PMSM drive system. However this product has not been commercially launched.

Bajaj Auto

In 2001, REVA, Bangalore, entered the EV sector in the car industry with a vehicle developed by American company (Amerigon). Some 3200 cars had been sold worldwide including approximately 1500 cars that had been sold in India, mostly in Bangalore city.

In 2007, in two wheeler segment, Hero cycles collaborated with UK based ULTRA Motor to launch a series of bikes . Other companies such as Electrotherm India, TVS Motor, Hero electric etc. are also manufacturing and selling their products. TATA Motors, Maruti Suzuki, Toyota and many other companies started entering Indian market with battery and hybrid electric vehicle products.

2005 – 2015 : Period of huge set back in the Industry



Indian Electric there wheeler market is majorly dominated by e-rickshaws

E-rickshaw Definition :

As per Indian Motor Vehicle Act (with Recent Amendment), e-rickshaw means

  • three-wheeled vehicles run by battery power , four 12V battery run a 650 W motor
  • maximum speed not more than 25 kmph,
  • carry 4-5 passengers
  • require neither registration nor license plate
  • allowed to carry a maximum of four passengers and 40 kg of luggage,
  • e-carts can transport goods of up to 310 kg.

This has been done to ensure that the vehicles are not used as transport vehicles in any public place or misused in any way.


According to the Government’s statement,

The provisions of sub-section (1) of section 66 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 will not apply to e-carts and e-rickshaws (as defined in section 2A of the said Act,) that are used for carrying goods or passengers with personal luggage. This means that vehicles that are registered as e-carts or e –rickshaws will not require any permits.

Image result for e rickshaw india

More than 5,00,000 e-rickshaws were sold in India in 2016-17. This market is estimated to grow at over 30-35% in 2017 to 2020.  Most of these e-rickshaws currently ply in National Capital Region (NCR).

Other states in India where these e-rickshaws are popular are Punjab, UP, West Bengal, Bihar and Haryana.

Figure 1 : Electric Vehicle facts & figures in India (Jan 2017)

EV Facts

It is a very good initiative by Government to support and incentivize E -Rickshaw and according to me, this is the first step towards Electric Mobility Mission. But question here is : ARE THEY SAFE to be used within city ? 

These rickshaws add to congestion, flout traffic rules and freely move on the main road, putting commuters at risk. A study on the structural reliability of the vehicles is on the cards after the rickshaw operators took the legal route against a ban by a Delhi court that asked for a reliability and durability test on the vehicles.

News Link : http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/hit-by-an-e-rickshaw-child-slips-out-of-mothers-arms-into-pan-of-boiling-oil/

Is it a Chinese Business ? With most of the E rickshaw parts are imported from China, no law applies to number of rickshaws allowed to ply, these can’t be governed under Motor Vehicles Act. Currently, selling e-rickshaws additional business for shops such as insurance agents/ dealers of taxi meters etc.

Government needs to think : Before making E Rickshaw popular, Government needs to think on few points :

  1. What should be an ideal e Rickshaw design be ?
  2. How to improve strength & safety of E-Rickshaw ?
  3. How can the government assist in charging, battery swapping and reducing the electricity pilferage?
  4. How to recycle Lead Acid batteries, to mitigate the threat of lead poisoning ?

What Government can do : To improve current challenges and situation ?

  1. To define E-Rickshaw policy and empowering Municipal Corporation to regulate E Rickshaws
  2. To develop convenient charging infrastructure
  3. Integration of E-rickshaws into transport system
  4. Urban planning to design Urban streets – Separate Line for E rickshaws

To conclude, Still there is a big question / concern / challenge : What’s the future of these E Rickshaws and future of Electric Mobility in India ?

Image result for electric rickshaw future

Source : http://overdrive.in/news/zbee-electric-rickshaw-threatens-bajaj-in-indonesia/



The major player of battery operated four wheeler in India is Mahindra.

The product of Mahindra is e20 (earlier known was Mahindra Reva). And the battery technology used is Lithium ion phosphate which is more safer and has longer life as compared to Lead acid batteries.

Manufacturers like Reva and Hero have taken initiatives to install charging stations with limited success.

The scenario for electric four-wheelers is grimmer — only about 2,000 electric cars were sold in almost a decade.

Mahindra Reva, the world’s one of the largest electric carmaker that can roll out 30,000 units a year. Manufacturers say lack of government incentive has added to their woes.

Mahindra Reva is suffering in maintaining a healthy sales traction. The major concerns over battery and the higher price compared to petrol or diesel vehicles have also worked against customer acceptance, said Chetan Maini, CEO of Mahindra Reva.

Demand for Reva in India has largely been stagnant — less than 500 cars sold in a year.

Mahindra has launched its new model e- Verito on 2nd June 2016 in Indian market with a starting price of Rs. 9.5 Lakh. e- Verito is the first electric sedan in the company’s portfolio and battery technology used is Lithium ion phosphate. And the driving range offered is 120 km. The car usually takes 7 hours to charge the battery. But it can be charged in 1.45 hours also by using fast chargers.


Sales of hybrid electric vehicles is likely to pick up in future with introduction of FAME subsidy. However, sales of plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) will be dependant on growth of charging infrastructure but other hybrid cars in which the storage is charged by power train are likely to grow fast.

Maruti Suzuki launched Ciaz under its Smart Hybrid Technology models in September 2015 in Indian Market at a price of Rs. 8-10 Lakh. Then Maruti launched Ertiga its new smart hybrid tech model in October 2015, followed by Ciaz in September 2015.

Toyota introduced Prius in India in 2012 at a price of Rs. 38-39 Lakh. The market of Toyota Prius is limited in India. Then Toyota launched its new model “Camry Hybrid” in 2013 in India.

According to car maker Toyota, More than 90% demand for premium sedan Camry in the India is for its Hybrid model. The share of hybrid in Camry Sales was only 15% in 2013 and within a year it increased to 73% and in 2015 it jumped further to 86%. Toyota sold 1,024 units in the last fiscal year out of which 879 units were hybrids.

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