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Save the Planet: Top 5 Eco-Friendly Vehicles in India that You can Drive!

Not only daily transport vehicles, even personal vehicles are being modified in the hope of a pollution-free environment

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Representational Image (Eco-friendly car), Pixabay
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Nov 17, 2016: Being the home to 1.2 billion people, the increasing rate of pollution in India has become a very important topic these days. It has one of the largest road transport networks in the world. Almost 65% of the pollution in India is caused by automobile-induced pollutants.

Recently, for the sake of a greener and healthier environment, the idea of eco-friendly vehicles has been well-received in the Indian automobile market. For a long time, rickshaws and bicycles have been a part of daily transportation in the suburban and urban areas. Now these eco-friendly options are being much more valued than auto-rickshaws and engine-vans that produce a lot of carbon monoxide and other pollutant gases in a large scale. No wonder these eco-friendly vehicles have been commercially so successful in such a short span of time.

[bctt tweet=”Battery operated miniature autos, locally called “toto”, have gained immense popularity in India.” username=””]

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In West Bengal, the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has recently introduced the “Sabuj-sathi” scheme to distribute bicycles among the high school seniors. Hand-pulled and peddled rickshaws have been a common daily transport scenario in Kolkata and recently battery operated miniature autos, locally called “toto”, have gained immense popularity.

An Indian woman crosses a road as vehicles move through morning smog on the last day of a two-week experiment to reduce the number of cars to fight pollution in New Delhi, Jan. 15, 2016. VOA
An Indian woman crosses a road as vehicles move through morning smog on the last day of a two-week experiment to reduce the number of cars to fight pollution in New Delhi, Jan. 15, 2016. VOA

These mostly six-seater vehicles are powered by solar-charged or electric batteries and these evoke no smoke, as in these cause no pollution. They are fast and light-weight and they make no sound as well- that’s why a number of auto drivers are drawn towards these too. In simple word, these “totos” are a much hassle free, faster, greener alternative to typical autos and such local transport vehicles.

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Mr. Shyam Sundar Bagchi, the founder of eco-friendly local transport vehicles’ drivers’ forum in Kolkata, said in an interview, “Pollution is not a joke. The way our daily vehicles are responsible for that is much more disheartening. Since we can’t cut down our daily transportation needs, we must cut down the rate of pollution we cause. That’s why we need more battery operated vehicles.”

Not only daily transport vehicles, even personal vehicles are being modified in the hope of a pollution-free environment. New and environment-friendly mobility solutions are engaging the automobile industry like never before. From two-wheeler to passenger and commercial vehicle manufacturers, companies are keen on exploiting the electric and hybrid technology. Companies like Toyota, Volvo, Hero even BMW have taken interest in these.

Here is a list of the top 5 hybrid/electric cars available in India:

  • Mahindra e2o
  • Volvo XC90 T8 Plug-In Hybrid | Volvo XC90 T8 Plug-In Hybrid
  • Toyota Camry Hybrid | Toyota Camry Hybrid
  • BMW i8
  • Mahindra eVerito

Finally, all that can be said about these eco-friendly vehicles is that India needs more and more of these if we really wish to work on our pollution problem. In personal and local transport system, much more eco-friendly vehicles have to be introduced. A very small number of Indians are actively using these vehicles; the number must increase.

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The cost of such vehicles should be decreased so that more and more common people can afford them. We all should take initiative to inform people about the positive sides of eco-friendly mobility solutions. With pollution levels in our metropolitan cities on the rise, eco- friendly transport alternatives can help us accomplish our coveted goal of an environment free of pollution.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram with inputs from agencies. Twitter: @dubumerang

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Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

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representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)