Solar-Powered Rickshaw Unveiled in India

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If you walk down the streets of Delhi, India, you’ll probably notice the multitude of pedal-driven rickshaws. And while some may protest that the rickshaws—mostly driven by migrants from poor Indian states—are uncivilized, the new Soleckshaw could make rickshaws palatable even to human rights activists.

The Soleckshaw, which is currently being tested in Old Delhi, can either be pedaled or run off of a 36-volt battery that is charged every 45 miles from a solar charging station. The prototype isn’t too shabby, either— it seats three and has electric lights, an FM radio, four mobile phone chargers, and can travel at 12 and a half miles per hour. Additionally, it can go uphill.

But there’s a catch— the Soleckshaw costs 22,000 rupees compared to 8,500 for a traditional rickshaw. The Indian government plans to alleviate the monetary issue for drivers by guaranteeing loans so that they can eventually buy their own vehicles.

The government also still needs to work out the minor details of who pays for the solar charging stations and whether drivers will pay for the electricity. But whatever the outcome of these decisions, the Soleckshaw will make a practice that doesn’t appear to be going anywhere  much more humane.

Photo Credit: The UK Times Online

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