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 topic : How a Rickshaw Puller Inspired IIT-Kanpur Grad to Manufacture Indias 1st E-Rickshaw #IndiaNEWS #Electric Vehicles In the summer of 2010, Vijay Kapoor, an entrepreneur, was taking a ride on a cycle

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Posted in: #IndiaNEWS #Electric

How a Rickshaw Puller Inspired IIT-Kanpur Grad to Manufacture Indias 1st E-Rickshaw #IndiaNEWS #Electric Vehicles
In the summer of 2010, Vijay Kapoor, an entrepreneur, was taking a ride on a cycle rickshaw in the bustling Chandni Chowk bazaar in New Delhi. During this trip, Vijay noticed the intense effort it took for the rickshaw puller to navigate through the crowded lanes of Chandni Chowk, which wasn’t commensurate with the money he was getting paid to ferry passengers.   (Above image of the first Mayuri e-rickshaw model)



Given his decades-long experience as an entrepreneur selling components to an Indian automobile manufacturer, he wanted to develop a product which would make the lives of rickshaw pullers easier.  



“Speaking to these rickshaw pullers in Chandni Chowk and Sadar Bazar, I got a sense of the miserable conditions they were working under given the extreme weather and the intense physical labour required. Seeing their condition, I thought we should do something for them,? says the 73-year-old Vijay Kapoor, in a conversation with The Better India.  



Around this period, Vijay had also travelled to China, where he saw a very crude model of the loader. Taking back the motor used in that model, he returned to India, and designed an e-rickshaw “taking into account the comfort of Indian passengers and drivers like the height at which a person has to get on the rickshaw (about 12 inches)?.



He designed all the necessary elements of an e-rickshaw, including the front glass “as per the requirements of Indian riders, especially the rickshaw puller, who shouldn’t have to expend all this effort, while also remaining eco-friendly and operating at a low running cost. ? says Vijay.  



Later that year, the IIT-Kanpur graduate founded Saera Electric Auto Private Limited (SEAPL), an e-mobility venture. In 2012, he manufactured the company’s first batch of Mayuri e-rickshaws. Some consider him the ‘Father of the E-Rickshaw’, but more accurately what Vijay did was pioneer the large-scale manufacturing of e-rickshaws in India.  



Vijay Kapoor (Image courtesy Autocar Professional)


Past is prologue 



Significant feats in engineering are achieved based on developments in the past. While Vijay did pioneer the manufacturing of e-rickshaws, it was another IIT-Kanpur alumni who built the first one.



Dr Anil Kumar Rajvanshi is the man credited for having developed the electric rickshaw in 2000 working out of the Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) in Phaltan, Satara district of Maharashtra. He was awarded the Padma Shri earlier this year.   



Despite some initial interest, no one took the step of buying their design of e-rickshaws from NARI and commercialising it, he notes in his book ‘Romance of Innovations’.


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