One of the solar-powered rickshaws back at the debut. Photo: Cleantech.
It was a pretty short run for Delhi's solar power rickshaws. After debuting almost eighteen months ago, the electric-assist vehicles have been rejected by their drivers ('pullers' in Indian parlance, a holdover from when rickshaws didn't have a bicycle attached to the front) as having too much added weight and the batteries being too slow to charge, taking nearly a full day once depleted, Indian Express reports.An unnamed official of the Delhi Municipal Corporation said,
The rickshaw-pullers...had complained that the rickshaws were heavy and wanted some changes to be made. We are discussing the issue with the Science and Technology department to find a solution.
Cost a Concern of Both Pullers and City
The same official also noted that the pullers were against the Municipal Corporation's decision to charge rent of Rs500 ($11) a month for the bikes. Before you start sneering, keep in mind that the average fare for a bicycle rickshaw may be Rs10-20. Keep in mind that the cost for the electric-assist rickshaws was listed back in 2008 as Rs22,000 ($493) versus Rs8,500 ($190) for an ordinary one--but since the city was given the bikes by the Science and Technology department, at least on the face of it, charging rent on the bikes wasn't about recouping costs.
All told some Rs1,500,000 ($336,000) was spent on the project, which was aimed at reducing the amount of labor needed to pedal the rickshaws.