New Delhi, September 18: IIT Kharagpur’s new green vehicle ‘DESHLA’ has hit the roads. It is likely to give a strong challenge to the current generation of three-wheeler autos and high- maintenance Totos. A 50-member student team led by Professor Vikranth Racherla from the prestigious institute’s mechanical engineering department has designed and built the electric vehicle from scratch. It has a powerful motor and lithium-ion battery that can last up to six-seven years.
Successful test run
The institute said in a statement that DESHLA has a high load-carrying capacity, sturdy frame and yet easy maneuverability. The concept prototype had a successful test run at the campus of IIT Kharagpur.
“Instead of retro-fitting an existing vehicle, we thought we would build one up from scratch, especially because the design is so important for an electric vehicle. Each design has been conceived, analysed, prototyped and the cycle repeated many times before the actual product came out,” Racherla has been quoted as saying to a national daily.
Dawn of ‘Make in India’ electric 3-wheelers
Sriman Kumar Bhattacharyya, the institute’s officiating director, said, “DESHLA would prove to be the dawn of the ‘Make in India’ electric three-wheeler vehicles popularly known as ‘Toto’ in this part of the country. Local Toto drivers who visited during the test run are excited with the vehicle design and the economics behind it.”
Electricity-run automobiles, or Totos, are known for their lower initial and running costs as compared to the costly and polluting diesel autos.
However, local entrepreneurs make them who put together parts imported from China. Life Fellow of IIT Kharagpur and emerging technology adviser, Bijoy Chatterjee, prepared the design and fabrication of the electric three-wheeler. It has improved electrical and mechanical functionalities, lightweight and is suitable for urban use.
The project was funded by industrialist and alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, Purnendu Chatterjee, Founder and Chairman of The Chatterjee Group (TCG). Racherla along with Shyama Agrawal and Manuj Agrawal, who are other lead researchers, have already floated a start-up for commercialisation of the vehicle. For industrial production, they are working on raising angel funding at present.