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Atul's e-rickshaws to ply on London streets

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12th September, 2019 08:47 IST
With his ability to sense new opportunities, Atul has now set its sight on electric three-wheelers. Rajkot: If everything goes as planned, Made-in-Gujarat electric rickshaws will soon be ferrying passengers on the streets of London. Rajkot-based Atul Limited — the maker of iconic diesel three-wheeler “Chhakdo” — has received green signal to market its lithium-ion operated e-rickshaw in the United Kingdom.

“Atul has fulfilled all the requisite conditions laid by the UK government. Once we are ready with our new product, it will be sold not only in India but also in UK,” says Jayanti Chandra, CMD, Atul Auto. The company is planning to introduce lithium-ion battery operate e-rickshaw in the next 9-12 months.

With around 45 years of experience in auto sector, Chandra, 63, is credited for perfecting the initial design of “Chhakdo” and making it a roaring success. Way back in 1970s, Chandra’s late father Jagjivanbhai changed the rural transportation by designing a three-wheeler from a motorised golf cart given to them royal scion of Jamnagar state, Jam Saheb.

Although the vehicle was named ‘Khusbu’, it gained popularity as “Chhakdo”. After a long and exciting journey of over four-and-a-half decade, Chhakdo retired this year due to dwindling demand of the iconic vehicle. However, it was a stepping stone for Atul’s giant leap in the auto sector. Enthused by Chhakdo’s popularity, Chandra decided to enter the market of regular three-wheeler and launched “Atul Shakti” with a carrying capacity of 750kg.

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Today, Atul exports its products to countries Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Egypt, Mexico and Bangladesh. It a market leader in making low-cost three-wheelers.

With his ability to sense new opportunities, Atul has now set its sight on electric three-wheelers. Last year, the company introduced lead acid battery operated autorickshaw, which has replaced cycle rickshaws in several parts of Northern India. The company is also in the process of completely transforming its CNG auto into electric auto.

“We also want to export our lithium-ion battery operated rickshaws to South African market as well. The cost of running e-auto is cheaper than CNG three-wheeler. At present, the fuel cost in CNG works out to be Rs 1 per kilometer, while the same is 50 paisa in an auto,” adds Chandra, who plans to manufacture this vehicle at his Rajkot and Ahmedabad plants.
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