Pune: Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University’s College of Engineering (BVDU-COE) has taken an initiative to revolutionise the electric autorickshaw to make it commercially viable in the country. While e-rickshaws have been around for a long time and are efficient in curbing air pollution, the short-lived batteries in e-rickshaws make them unviable for public use.
An e-rickshaw has been donated by the Technical Education Quality Improvement Program (TEQIP) to the department of Electrical Engineering for research and experimentation by undergraduate, post-graduate and PhD level students.
Principal of BVDU-COE Anand Bhalerao said that the area of experimentation will be batteries, use of ultra-capacitor, motors and mechanical systems of the e-rickshaw. This will also give a platform to the faculty and students to develop low cost e-rickshaws through research projects.
“The current e-rickshaws have two issues; one is they have short battery life, a full-charged e-rickshaw can travel 60 km only, and another is that it has poor pickup, which means it is unable to give decent mileage if there are 4-5 people sitting in it. Hence, we are trying to improve the battery life and pickup quality by using ultra-capacitors,” said Bhalerao.
Head of Department of Electrical Engineering Deepak Bankar said that it is very cost effective and efficient to use. “An ultra-capacitor is a device, which will be fitted into e-rickshaws and will act parallel to the battery. This requires less amount of units and time to get fully-charged; almost 1/4th of the time as compared to a normal battery, depending on its size. Generally, a normal battery requires around 6-8 hours of charging,” said Bankar.
“This will act as a booster in the vehicle. When an e-rickshaw starts, it draws some amount of current. An ultra-capacitor helps start the vehicle more easily by not consuming much current,” added Bankar.
Bhalerao added that if the transportation system is to change, we need
to educate students about its importance. He was of the opinion that UGC and AICTE should give grants to institutes for purchase of e-vehicles for research projects.