Mangaluru, March 03, 2020: A range of benefits, including the absence of noise and pollution, almost nil maintenance cost and cheaper fuel, has encouraged 54-year-old Robert D’Souza to opt for an electric autorickshaw thereby becoming the city’s first owner-cum-driver to drive an e-auto.
Eking a livelihood by driving an autorickshaw since 1992, Ullal resident D’Souza was attracted by an e-auto on a visit to Bengaluru last year. When he wanted to have one in Mangaluru, it was not available then. As soon as the vehicle landed at Karnataka Agency’s (authorised dealers of Mahindra & Mahindra) showroom in Mangaluru, he got a call a month ago.
As against Rs. 2.13 lakh for a conventional autorickshaw, Mr. D’Souza paid Rs. 2.9 lakh for the e-auto. “But I can recover the excess amount soon,” he said and added that the vehicle does not have many moving parts except the wheels. As such, there is no expenditure on oil and grease, etc. The battery has a three-year guarantee and another year’s of warranty.
Listing out the other benefits, Mr. D’Souza said that every charge that offers a 120-km ride, could consume six to eight units of power a day. His daily trips come to around 90 km. While he is yet to get power bills for the month, his counterpart in Udupi had told him that the bill was up by about Rs. 1,500 a month. This is quite encouraging when compared to the Rs. 10,000 a month — Rs. 9,000 for LPG and Rs. 1,000 for oil and grease — he spends on an LPG-driven autorickshaw, he said.
He runs the service on the regular fares as authorised by the Regional Transport Authority. As the vehicle cruises through the lanes and by-lanes of the city noiselessly, passengers were happy and they never bargain on the fares. Many ask him to retain the change also, Mr. D’Souza said. While his wife works as a helper in a private hospital at Deralakatte, his daughter works in Bengaluru and his son is pursuing ITI course in the city.