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The Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) suggests the conversion of existing three-wheelers into electric is one of the best ways to promote EVs (electric vehicles) in India. ARAI realised that the Indian government's goal to achieve 30 per cent electric mobility by 2030 is a bit difficult to attain as around four million fossil-fuel-powered vehicles are sold in the country, each year.
Speaking to ET Auto at the Symposium of International Automotive Technology (SIAT) conference, Rashmi Hemant Urdhwareshe, Director of ARAI shared, "We are also developing technologies on the three-wheeler segment. This could be a part of success stories for the crowded cities where bigger buses are not the solution. ARAI trying either to converting existing fleets into electric vehicles or replace them with the new electric-three wheelers."
"If serious development of EVs has to take place, I think not just ARAI as a testing house but all the stakeholders have to work on the development of requisite material, components, recyclability and skill sets to handle the new types of powertrains," she further added.
Regarding two-wheeler electrification, Rashmi stated that Indians are more interested in high-performance and range-topping motorcycles. At the moment, there are no desirable electric motorcycles on the market even though products from Ather Energy and Okinawa have made their mark in the scooter department.
Given the current status of EV infrastructure, large-scale electrification can only hit the public transport sector; where 'desirability' is overshadowed by 'utility'. In other words, buses, trucks, commercial vehicles, cabs and of course, three-wheelers (or auto-rickshaws) are the ideal first choices when it comes to having an all-electric alternative.
The technology required to introduce efficient and capable electric powertrains in heavy-vehicles is still at a growing stage (even though some manufacturers have introduced electric buses). For the same reason, it is best to start off with the conversion of IC-engine two-wheelers to electric models.
Thoughts On Converting Three-Wheelers To Electric
Electric vehicles in India do not have enough supporting infrastructure or public acceptance in order to grow at a staggering pace. Still, various government agencies and automotive brands are working on improving these two factors; the conversion of existing three-wheelers to electric being one way.