January 9, 2009

WBGEDC offers zero-pollution auto

KOLKATA, 7 January, 2009: Auto owners flustered with the EMI on new LPG autos have an alternative at hand. The West Bengal Green Energy Development Corporation, along with automobile manufacturer Tara International, is offering them a package that will turn out cheaper than an LPG switch and be even more environment friendly. What's better, they don't need to dump their old vehicles. All they have to do is pay Rs 65,000 and have a battery-driven engine mounted in their old auto.
WBGEDC managing director SP Ganchouhuri said Tara International had approached them to manufacture battery autos in the city. "They have already started manufacturing such autos at their Barasatunit ," he said, adding that WBGEDC has run "10 to 15 battery autos on an experimental basis". The company's battery-operated two-wheelers have been a success, Ganchoudhuri said. "So far, more than 10,000 green two-wheelers have been sold. We now plan to introduce battery-run autos in the city that would drastically cut down auto emission," he said. It would cost about Rs 1.25 lakh to convert an old auto into a battery-driven one, Ganchoudhuri. "The Centre will give a subsidy of Rs 50,000 and another Rs 10,000 subsidy would be given by the state. An auto driver will only have to shell out about Rs 65,000, that too in phases," Ganchoudhuri said.
According to a scheme that is being worked out, a driver would be able to repay the entire amount simply by paying Rs 200 daily to get the batteries recharged. Ganchoudhuri said: "The old fuel-based engine would be replaced by a motor that would have rechargeable batteries. These autos can run up to 80 km per charge and can have a maximum speed of 60 km per hour, carrying six passengers. WBGEDC is designing small solar panels that would tap solar energy to recharge the batteries. So, the auto owner doesn't even run up an electricity bill. The battery auto is not only a zero-emission vehicle, it is also soundless."

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