E Rickshaw - Introduction
E Rickshaws are three wheel battery operated vehicles, which are considered as an upgrade to conventional rickshaws, and economically better than auto rickshaws and other fuel variants, these rickshaws, since are battery powered have zero emission, and is often argued to be much better than other rickshaws as they are considered almost pollution free. E rickshaws are now fairly popular amongst Indian rickshaw drivers and has created new opportunities for people, as they require minimum investment to earn a living. They offer huge returns in less time, and are easy to operate and has low maintenance and running cost. A lot of variants are available these days, most of them started as low quality products and were imported from China. These days Indian e rickshaws have been developed offering a higher quality and better services at an equivalent cost. E rickshaws can provide a decent income since the battery charging cost is far lower than any other fuel, new material such as fibreglass has been introduced in them, since the material provides high strength, durability and lighter than metals.
How it works
E rickshaws in India are built over tubular chassis, body is kept light in weight in order to increase life of the battery, the main electronic components that make the drive are motor, controller, harness, batteries and the throttle. The mismatch between any of these components is undesirable and may reduce performance.
The chassis is the main part which ensures drive quality and safety of the vehicle, is made of mild steel, a low quality chassis should never be used, the chassis if often built without proper knowledge, causing an imbalance in the drive, and often causing the vehicle to pivot very easily, the chassis manufactured by professional e rickshaw manufacturers are better as quality measures are often ignored by others, and are often built without welding fixtures of any kind. The chassis inaccurately made, will have handling problems, will be damaged easily, and corrosion may occur if not treated for resisting certain chemicals(from the battery or otherwise) or moisture.
Low weight of body is desirable, which can be done by good designing, ensuring quality check, using material such as F.R.P, aluminium, composite materials and low density metals. A very good alternative is F.R.P which is strong, non conducting, cheap, light weight , highly durable, resistant to fire, withstands weather and is easily repaired in case of damage. The body is attached to chassis by the means of bolts, in some cases welded, which is not recommended. The body should be built to keep in mind quality and design which is aerodynamic, and ensures driver safety. Better quality bodies lasts for years whereas low quality body will last no longer than 10 to 15 months. In this case, F.R.P is extremely desirable since the life of the body is 10s of years. Electrical parts are recommended to be tight, use high quality couplers to ensure proper connection and insulate connection to prevent water and moisture.
Electrical components used of higher quality will lower resistance and heat losses and increase efficiency.
The motor power used in most e rickshaws is 650W to 1250W, the latest government norms allow it to be 650W, most of them run on 850W and higher, which adversely effects the battery life. The controller used is ~40A , 48V output, uses 14, 18 or 24 MOSFETs and powers all electric components. A good quality controller must be used to increase performance of the motor and other overheating issues. Controller should be installed with electrical brake cut off, and which are removed by common rickshaw mechanics in order to achieve a continuous torque or improper functioning of the brakes.
The braking system is mechanical drum brakes. Service and maintenance is required for proper vehicle functioning, the improper brake adjustments may heat up the motor and controllers and damage brake shoes, it may also reduce the mileage of the vehicle.
The batteries used in e rickshaws are lead acid, they provide low cost alternative, they range from 80A to 120A nowadays, a larger battery with more capacity are used, but adversely it can increase weight and reduce mileage, to prevent it the ratio of weight and AH(measure of battery capacity) must be maintained, we recommend to use not more than 110AH batteries as they exceed 125kg, deep discharge batteries made for electric vehicles may be used depending on the customer's preference. To main life, a low amperage charger ~10 to 15A should be used, a charger with current and voltage maintained is preferred to prevent bulging and higher cycles.
Every aspect of an electric vehicle, if engineered, designed and manufactured with quality will improve battery life, vehicle life and contribute to a higher profit overtime.