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SOLECKSHAW – A solar-electric rickshaw for eco-friendly urban transport

02 Feb 2017

Soleckshaw, a Pedicab, is an optimally-designed, pedal-operated as well motor-assisted, zero-carbon emission urban transport vehicle. The concept of Soleckshaw owes its genesis to the realization that the dignity of human labour needs to be upheld while ensuring sustainable environment and that all devices must be designed to decrease human strain and also greenhouse gas emission.

Auto rickshaws, driven by fossil fuel, produce extensive emissions and cause substantial environmental pollution. In contrast, Cycle rickshaws, which are manually driven to provide transportation in busy, narrow urban by-lanes do not contribute to any kind of pollution. However, the effort demanded for manual steerage is very high, which routinely leads to serious health issues (i.e. T.B.) for the ill-paid mal-nourished rickshaw puller. Considering the climatic changes endangered by widespread pollution, introduction of green vehicles has become the need of the day and it is in this context that CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) came up with the Soleckshaw, to provide green transportation for the urban passenger and mitigate health hazard of the rickshaw pullers.

Soleckshaw is amenable to both manual and electric drive. When engaged electrically, the motion is provided by a 240 – 550 watts motor, powered by a lead-acid battery pack (may be charged using solar energy). In comparison to a normal rickshaw, the Soleckshaw requires less driving effort on the part of the rickshaw puller since a part of the effort is provided on demand by the electric motor. Electric locomotion in the Soleckshaw affords traversing   longer distances compared to its manual counterpart, which translates into increased earnings for the rickshaw pullers & less health hazard. On the other hand, the option of reverting to manual steerage ensures less depletion of battery in comparison to electrically- driven pedicabs, and thus more distance can be covered in a single charge. Hence, Soleckshaw optimally utilizes both human effort and electric power, which potentially constitutes a very useful green vehicle for tomorrow’s world.

The Mark-I version was launched in Delhi in Oct.2008.Mark-II a slimmer and lighter version of Soleckshaw, was developed subsequently, with one of its model having a solar panel on the top. A still advanced version, Mark-III was developed later which was more spacious family vehicle with reclining seats and aerodynamic body.

The high powered E-Rickshaw or the Mark-IV version of Soleckshaw consists mostly of standard parts and spares available in the market so that, when necessary, they can be serviced, repaired, replaced with the minimum cost unlike the cheaper imported ones which are basically of use & throw concept, making it expensive for the poor rickshaw pullers in the long run. The uniqueness of this version is that it can easily accommodate four passengers and the rickshaw puller can easily pull it using less manual effort with a running speed of 10 to 14 km/hr. The Mark-IV was developed after thorough design analysis and simulations required to check the design viability, stability and to maintain the centre of gravity for balancing of the prototype. The drive assembly unit consists of two axle shafts. The first one for transmitting motion from pedal to the Ist shaft and the 2nd rear shaft gets drive force from the BLDC motor through chain and sprocket mechanism.

The vision of the Hon’ble Prime Minster of India about smart cities will be fulfilled when we have smart vibrant green transport fleets on the streets.

{Feature has been uploaded by CSIR (Unit for Science Dissemination), Ministry of Science & Technology, New Delhi}.

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