In order to start their vehicle, Rickshaw-Wallahs stand up on the pedals, violently pull the handlebar towards themselves and then lean backwards, and push to the right, and finally strenuously bounce back and push to the left. They arch their back, contort, and dislocate themselves to cycle for only a few meters…
No gear, a heavy cycle part.
No gear, an inefficient front brake, no back brake, 4 pins on the cart part as only suspension, 80 kg to tract. You can well imagine that we ride “slowly”, “very slowly” on a rickshaw. That goes without saying…
The installation of an electric assistance…
About that, in the 2010s, foreign operators proposed to Rickshaw-Wallas THE solution to all of their problems: the adaptation of electric engines as an assistance. “You will get less tired, you’ll be able to do more and faster fares”, they said to them. A little battery stuck under your seat, a bit of handiwork and you’ll get going!
… Doomed to failure and even locally prohibited.
Firstly, the cycle part of the rickshaws hasn’t been thought-out properly , should it be the suspensions, or the brakes! So, just imagine, 80kg of the unloaded rickshaw, plus the weight of the Rickshaw-Wallah himself, plus the weight of 2 or 3 passengers when they aren’t 4, 5 or more (!), when the whole thing goes at 50km/h (?!) thanks to the assistance of the electric engine, and at this moment, a pedestrian crosses in front of the rickshaw!? No comment!
The outbreak of a large number of accidents led the authorities to forbid electric engines on the rickshaws, starting with the area of Dhaka!
It is also not difficult to imagine what the hands of the Rickshaw-Wallah would look like at the end of the day, after all the vibrations in the handlebar, riding at 50km/h on the bumps and potholes strewn across the streets.
Access to energy and reliability of the equipment also at issue
Besides, the current shortage of energy in Bangladesh is recognised as being the first obstacle impeding its development. People still recently talked about a 40% electricity supply deficit, which hinders industries in their production and periodically triggers riots in the country. In addition, the traceability of the given batteries isn’t ensured and one may fear the worst about that.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, there are many other priorities for the use of electricity in Bangladesh, and adapting electric engines on rickshaws isn’t one of them!
That’s the reason why we propose the Rickshaw Impulse Project (link to the Rickshaw Project page).