THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Getting to own an electric autorickshaw without having to shell out as much as a penny is, well, the realm of fantasy. But since the idea is still on the drawing board, any excitement or elation on this score will be premature.
The department will hold talks with a leading e-auto manufacturer in this regard over the next few weeks. According to KR Jyothilal, Transport Secretary, the e-auto major, which recently launched electric autos in Kerala, has proposed the idea as part of popularising electric mobility. There will soon be a dialogue on the issue and if indeed it emerges that the proposal is viable, it will be rolled out in select cities across the state in the inaugural phase.
The company will provide electric autos to a chosen few, selected through an agency like Kudumbashree, in a specific city or region. And the e-autos will be run on the lines of Uber and Ola online cab aggregators. The drivers after collecting the travel fare from passengers will pay the daily collection to the agency coordinating the operations.
The drivers can claim their daily wage based on the total distance they have logged in a day. Later, they will be given the auto completely free when the company gets back the price of the auto through the daily collection after a couple of years of service. This will ensure that e-mobility can be popularised in a phased manner in the state. Further, this will provide an opportunity to the beneficiaries to own an auto without availing themselves of loans from banks or private money lenders, he said. The company officials have contacted the transport department and if the model is found feasible, it will be rolled out in the state, he said. The electric auto segment is already poised for a paradigm shift in the state, with three major companies launching their e autos in Kerala recently.
And the race for increased market share will hot up in the coming days, with the state-run Kerala Automobiles Ltd launching its flagship e-auto ‘Kerala Neem G’ in the emerging e-mobility market. The e-auto of KAL, which is undergoing the final road test, will hit the market in a couple of weeks. A Shajahan, managing director, KAL, said the company has plans to come out with as many as 8,000 e-autos in the first year. Moreover, if the government policy allows it, the company is ready to undertake a retrofit in existing autos to meet the sector’s demand, he said.