As India advances towards mass-scale electric mobility, entities other than OEMs and start-ups are taking steps to offer new solutions. The Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IITG) is working on a new concept of a three-wheeled electric scooter.
The team working on the project has a target to prepare the final prototype by the this month, after which it will be sent to the Non-Ferrous Materials Technology Development Centre (NFTDC), Hyderabad, the partner organisation in at least some of IITG's projects in the electric mobility space.
Dr. Pradeep Gururaj Yammiyavar, head of IIT Guwahati's design department, tells Autocar Professional that two variants of the scooter are under development, one each for personal and commercial usage. "Usually people transporting milk and chicken will modify the bike and they get into trouble with the law. All these things show that there is a niche which is not being catered to by existing two-wheelers. We are trying to create new niches through innovation and adapt the technology for it," says Dr Yammiyavar. He adds that the variant for personal use is aimed more for the convenience of women and aged riders as a three-wheeled scooter offers better stability.
If all plans fructify as per schedule, the scooter will be the first of its kind in India. Of the two versions, the variant for personal use will have a Lithium-ion battery pack and induction motor, while the one for commercial application will have an advanced lead acid battery pack and permanent magnet motor. The claimed riding range on a full charge is up to 120 kilometres and the time taken for a full charge is estimated to be "45 to 60" minutes.
The scooter’s top speed is a moderate 55 kmph and the maximum payload is around 160 kilograms. "We are developing all technologies around the induction motor. More specifically copper cast caged induction motors. There are no magnets, so no imported component for the motor. This is the first trial of using an induction motor in a two-wheeler. We are developing technologies which compete with the best in the world. It is a cumulative time-frame of 20 man years which has gone to developing this," says Dr Praveen Kumar, associate professor at IIT Guwahati's department of electronics and electrical engineering.
It is likely that NFTDC will take the project up to commercial production and scale it up to a certain level.