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NEMO: Electric Autorickshaw

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Published on Oct 6, 2008

Piyush Sharma's electric autorickshaw is here to change things and add a pinch of Indian zing to it.

Sharma's electric autorickshaw (which he has fondly named Nemo) has room for four passengers, one driver and space to keep luggage that can weigh up to 20 kilos. It's tubular structure, aluminium base and fibreglass body ensure that it's lightweight and a part tetrahedron structure adds to the strength.
A mechanical engineer, Sharma joined N.I.D (National Institute of Design) as a postgraduate student. In his final year he presented the proposal for this electric autorickshaw to Yo Bykes- a company that sponsored its production cost. However, Sharma created the working prototype in eight months almost entirely manually, using simple machinery.

Not only did his research involve anthropology in studying the average built of Indians, it also included the study of aesthetics. I wanted my creation to be like a fish- fast moving yet silent and calm. And I drew my inspiration from the movie Finding Nemo, confesses Sharma.
Aesthetically, Sharma wanted Nemo to have streaks of both modernity and tradition. Having studied what Indians like and dislike he decided to use bold colours for the body. Believe it or not, but my decision to use bold colours was heavily influenced by Hindi movie posters, admits Sharma quite gallantly.
Nemo is a noiseless and eco-friendly vehicle but Sharma's intention goes beyond replacing the existing autorickshaws. He says, Maybe Nemo will be transformed into an ice-cream shop or an S.T.D/I.S.D booth on wheels, who knows?
For an electronic vehicle, the optimum range of travel is most important, says Sharma. After its battery is charged for four hours, the autorickshaw can run for 110 kms. Yes, it has gone through the test.

In designing the engine Sharma has done away with the kick start system, the leg brake and the three-gear system. Apart from creating the entire mechanism within the handle, Sharma has also designed a separate version that can be driven by a handicapped person (this could either be someone with no legs or one who has one hand.)

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