|E rickshaw ride on a street in India|
An idea becomes a reality and starts taking hold when people start adopting it.
This has started happening in the ever increasing electric vehicles to be found on Indian roads.
The catch here is that these vehicles, the ones which are really selling, are the simplest ones of them all.
These are the e-rickshaws (see my blog post 'E rickshaw the ubiquitous vehicle').
Recently while driving along a road in Delhi I spotted a sign which said pay Indian Rupees 35000 and take an E rickshaw home! This is just USD 545. Really cheap. I did not stop to see whether the E rickshaws on offer were new or refurbished. However, the point is that these machines are available at very reasonable prices.
This is so because the technology for building them is within the capability of the common man. There is no need to set up a manufacturing plant.
These E rickshaws market themselves, as they are inexpensive and a good means for earning a lively hood, as they meet the every day need of last mile connectivity.
Low tech, inexpensive and immediate usefulness through earnings are the lines which define the space.
The space in which the sales of these vehicles are growing.
We are seeing established automobile companies moving towards designing and manufacturing high end expensive electric cars.
These big companies are developing technologies to over come the distance barrier. To replace a petrol or diesel vehicle the electric vehicle must be able to charge itself quickly and travel much further than it is able to do now.
However, in the space defined by the lines of low tech, inexpensiveness and immediate usefulness there is another electric vehicle. The golf cart!
If we were to have a golf cart designed as a light car, with better suspension, seating and safety. If it were to be made legal to be able to drive these vehicles on roads.
If we were to amend our building bye laws and allow high amperage charging points in all public and private parking spaces. Then we may have a solution for an electric vehicle which may sell.
It may meet the usefulness criteria for those who use their vehicles for short commutes.
Such a vehicle could have the potential of becoming as ubiquitous as the E rickshaw is in India.