What is E-rickshaw? Everything You Need to Know

E-rickshaw body design
E-rickshaw body design
Resource: https://newsriveting.com

In this recent report by Future Market Insights, the market for e-rickshaws was valued at $1.3 billion in 2022. According to the same report, this market is expected to grow at a staggering CAGR of 31.8 % to reach 27.5 billion by 2032. That’s a huge growth, and an indicator of the increasing popularity of these small vehicles. So what is e-rickshaw and why is it so popular?

What is E-rickshaw?

E-rickshaw is used to mean a compact type of 3-wheeled vehicle (sometimes also 4 wheeled) that’s conveniently powered by an electric motor and battery. In some parts of the world, it also goes by these different names:

  • Electric tuk-tuk
  • Electric tricycle
  • Electric trike
  • Toto

E-rickshaw Meaning

The “E” in e-rickshaw is used to mean electric. On the other hand, the-rickshaw is a traditional type of 2 or 3 wheeled vehicle that’s manually pulled or pushed. Today, these can be powered by a fossil fuel engine.

An electric rickshaw takes the motorization option a notch higher to provide a quiet and eco-friendly way to power the traditional rickshaw. Now that you understand it is, let’s see how manufacturers design e-rickshaws today.

E-rickshaw Design

From the e-rickshaw images at the beginning of this article, you can see some ways that the vehicle is built today, specifically the three wheeled type. The typical battery powered rickshaw has these features:

  • Main Body: the e-rickshaw body design varies depending on the manufacturer and other factors such as application. Usually, it features a roofed driver’s cabin and a covered or open rear bed for cargo, or seating area for passengers.
  • Three Wheels and Chassis: an e-rickshaw is mostly designed with one wheel in the front and two wheels in the rear. This provides for both stability and maneuverability. A sturdy chassis then holds all parts together.
  • Driver Controls: e-rickshaw controls consist of handlebars and a simple dashboard that also features simple instrumentation. This includes an indicator for the vehicle’s speed and battery status.
E-rickshaw features, from the driver’s cabin to the rear and others
E-rickshaw features, from the driver’s cabin to the rear and others
Resource: https://www.researchgate.net

How Does E-rickshaw Work?

Here is how an e-rickshaw works: being electrically powered, an e-rickshaw comes with a rechargeable battery or batteries. The battery connects to an electric motor. The motor, in turn, connects to a transmission that’s located in the rear wheels axle. The transmission itself is directly linked to the wheels.

  • Upon starting, the battery sends power to the motor, which starts spinning. This rotates the transmission and thus, the wheels.
  • From the driver’s seat, you can control the e-rickshaw speed using buttons on the handlebars. This works by varying the motor voltage.
  • Also in the driver’s cabin is a lever for high and low gear. The low gear lets you haul heavy loads or when going uphill, while the high gear suits higher speeds at lower torque.
  • To stop, an e-rickshaw uses both front brakes (located on the handle bars) and the more powerful rear drum brakes.
  • An e-rickshaw will also have other features to make it roadworthy, such as horn, headlights, and a windshield wiper. A parking brake too, and side mirrors to ensure safety.
Battery-operated e-rickshaw
Battery-operated e-rickshaw
Resource: https://www.mdpi.com

Types of E-rickshaw

Two major types of e-rickshaw are available today. These are classed based on whether they are directly powered by a battery, or if they also feature a way to charge the battery using solar energy.

Battery Operated E-rickshaw

These are the most common types of e-rickshaw. The battery operated e-rickshaw uses a storage battery, which can either be the lead acid, lithium ion, or nickel-metal-hydride type. The battery is normally charged by connecting it to a grid outlet (or any other source).

E-rickshaw with Solar Panel

An e-rickshaw with solar panel takes advantage of the sun to generate electricity and charge a battery, and feature a solar panel on the roof. Although not as reliable as the battery-only types, this way to power an electric rickshaw is just beginning to gain popularity.

E-rickshaw images
E-rickshaw images
Resource: https://www.mdpi.com

E-rickshaw Specifications

What features define an e-rickshaw? In this section, we’ll look at the specifications of a typical vehicle of this type. These include dimensions, weight, and charging time. Other e-rickshaws specifications we’ll look at include power consumption rate and speed.

E-rickshaw Dimensions

E-rickshaw dimensions can vary, with some types of the vehicle being larger than others. That being said, these vehicles are generally compact, with most measuring 2600-3000 mm length, 1000-1400 mm width, and about 1700 mm height. The compact e-rickshaw size allows it to move through crowded streets with ease, or narrow suburban and other roads.

E-rickshaw Weight

An e-rickshaw weight depends on its size, the types of materials used to make it, and other factors such as battery type. On average, it weighs between 200 and 300 kg. In terms of what it can hold or carry, the e-rickshaw weight capacity can vary from 400-1000 kg and carry between 2 and 10 passengers. Again that depends on its rated power and other factors such as size and usage conditions.

E-rickshaw Charging Time

The e-rickshaw charging time depends on its battery’s capacity. It also depends on the charging infrastructure or equipment and generally varies between 5 and 8 hours. When fully charged and based on the Ah rating, which can range from 50Ah – 200Ah, an e-rickshaw battery can give you 80-120 km of usage.

E-rickshaw Electricity Consumption

Like other e-rickshaw specifications, the power consumption rate varies based on the type and amount of load, driving conditions or terrain, driving habits, and the efficiency of its motor. Basing on these factors, the average electricity consumption ranges from 5kWh-6kWh for every 100 km.

E-rickshaw Speed Limit

E-rickshaw top speed can be 25 kilometers/hr or 35 kilometers/hr and sometimes higher and up to 60 kilometers/hr. For specific reasons, the e-rickshaw speed limit in some regions around the world can be less than its rated speed, or the manufacturer may limit that to ensure compatibility with region traffic rules.

It’s good to note that while these e-rickshaw details are standard for most models, they can still vary across different models of the vehicle and manufacturers. We therefore, recommend reading through the manufacturer’s provided literature for up-to-date information about your specific vehicle.

Passenger electric rickshaw
Passenger electric rickshaw
Resource: https://youtu.be/vUgQNzZ_Vts

What is the Cost of E-rickshaw?

When planning to buy an e-rickshaw, you want to know the amount that you’re likely going to spend. So how much does it cost? E-rickshaw price is different across different manufacturers. It also varies by rickshaw size, design, and other factors such as available features.

On average, it’s going to cost you about $1000 to $2000 to buy an e-rickshaw, and much less if purchasing them in bulk. The more expensive models can cost around $3000 and higher depending on the specifications, especially if designed for passengers or heavier loads.


The e-rickshaw is a popular, short-distance transportation vehicle today. Noiseless and without emissions, it provides for a greener way to move around with ease, especially when it comes to urban environments. E-rickshaws are also made in different sizes to cater to the different transportation needs that include both people and goods.

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