Soleckshaw –CARBON concept in Social Engineering

This second article in the ‘Sustainable Consumption Series’ talks about Soleckshaw- an optimally-designed, pedal-operated and motor assisted, zero-carbon emission, urban transport vehicle developed by CSIR.

The Soleckshaw is the flagship of CSIR's recently launched initiative- Science & Technology for 800 Million Indians-a campaign that aims to deliver the fruits of cutting -edge science to benefit the poverty stricken.

CSIR-800 is a project which aims at providing a better life to 800 million people in the country and hence bringing solutions in the area of health, agriculture, and energy. Scientific and Technological innovations cover a varied range of technologies such as mechanized agriculture, low cost housing, new cultivation techniques, water purification techniques, and traditional ceramic products using local based inputs. In terms of disaster management, CSIR has provided relief in the face of calamities such as cyclones, tsunami, or earthquakes. Be it the Tsunami of 2004 or the floods in Bihar, CSIR has led the relief process by undertaking through production of instant food through its R&D lab (to the tune of 55 tones of food) and making available sweet drinking water through reverse osmosis and electro dialysis techniques; and at the same time extended support through large scale geo-engineering experiments. CSIR has developed several cost effective drugs for the poor.

Born out of the CSIR vision, CSIR-800 aims at empowering 800 million Indians through S&T intervention. The Mark I version of Soleckshaw has been designed, developed and prototyped by the CSIR’s national laboratory, the Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) at Durgapur, in a record time of eight months.


Prof. Samir K. Brahmachari, the visionary behind the CSIR- 800 initiative, desired to improve the lives of the pedicab (rickshaw) drivers by changing the design of the vehicle to enable an electric motor driven vehicle. Building on this vision, the challenge of developing an optimally-designed, pedal-operated and motor assisted, zero-carbon emission, urban transport vehicle was taken up by Dr Gopal Sinha and his team at  the Central Mechanical and Engineering Research Institute (CMERI), and he immediately took the challenge.

Soleckshaw-Carbon matters

The pedicab has been branded Soleckshaw—SOL representing solar, E for Electric and CKSHAW for Rickshaw. It is a rickshaw—three wheeled vehicle driven by BLDC (brushless direct current) and PMDC (permanent magnet direct current), powered by a specially designed lead acid battery. It is charged by solar energy. Research is ongoing for an advanced technology for mechanical propulsion, gear mechanism, advance motor, Li-ion battery and harnessing of renewable energy from available energy resources like solar, hydro, wind, and biomass. The ‘Soleckshaw’ project has been targeted to deliver renewable energy equivalent of 1500 MW, mainly SPV (solar photovoltaic) led, for eight million rickshaw pullers across the country.

The second phase will focus on building export markets for the product as also focus on converting three million polluting auto rickshaws. The second phase is expected to further enhance the renewable energy equivalent by 500 MW. The sector turnover is significant enough to justify government intervention through technology and social promotion and is surely to lead to reduced human drudgery and increased income potential for the rickshaw pullers.

Futuristic Technology for ‘Soleckshaw’ 

It is recognized that the rickshaws in use leave much to be desired in terms of efficiency, ergonomics and aesthetics. This is hardly amazing considering that the design has scarcely changed since it was introduced in India. Therefore actual rickshaw pullers were invited to a workshop for consultation in development of better rickshaws.

The following common points emerged:

  • Provision for motorized assistance for haulage
  • Brakes on both  front and rear wheel
  • Larger tread width with better tyre
  • Reduction of rickshaw deadweight
  • Protective cover above the puller’s head
  • Energy efficiency through better designs of controllers

Some of the applications contemplated for ‘Soleckshaw’:

  • Traditional passenger / goods carrier
  • Green vehicle for tourist places
  • Personal family vehicle
  • Community transport
  • Mobile Dispensary for midwifery
  • Waste disposal vehicle
  • Vehicle for the physically disabled
  • School carrier
  • Colony in campus micro transport
  • Trade Show Vehicle.
  • Ice-cream / Fast Food Cart.
  • Postal Carts.


**Specifications of Controller

Author: Rajesh Kumar


Short, sweet, to the point,

Tess (not verified) says:

Short, sweet, to the point, FREE-eaxclty as information should be!

I appreciate the use of solar

Dr Anil Kumar Puniya (not verified) says:

I appreciate the use of solar power for running a rickshaw, since the world is running short of energy sources, as the available option are getting limited. This type of ideas will not only help in overcoming the energy problems but also help in reducing the environmental pollution pressures. Moreover, it will help the rickshaw pullers to take advantage of this technique and a earn their living without over-exerting. I congratulate the author of this article and the people involved in this project for bringing out the wider publicity of such a nice idea. I would be interested in future also to know more about such cheaper and feasible indigenous technologies.

Hi All, Solekshaw is the

Vikas (not verified) says:

Hi All,

Solekshaw is the beginning for solar appliances in India but I hope in near future there will be hunderds of solar products which will be more efficient and useful to common man. Improving effecieny is a continuos process and I hope CSIR will keep this thing in mind and come with more advanced and improved models.I wish best of luck to CSIR for this initiative.

Vikas Rao

Their are quite a few issues

Lohit Chanana (not verified) says:

Their are quite a few issues in manufacturing and assembly where design inputs are required,so that fabrication of parts can be done economically and easily.

Industry interface is required for sub-assemblies like wire harness, companies in automotive segment could share their expertise and work process by way of industrial visits etc.

Other areas of cooperation could be in testing & quality assurance.

Standardisation of parts would make the components easily available.


Mr. Lohit, product

Rajesh (not verified) says:

Mr. Lohit, product development scale up after passing through various stages and finally the lab concept take final shape as per the end user requirements.
Your concern about quality assurance needs immediate attention, by Technology developer which ultimately results in standarisation of components/product.

The project of CSIR is very

V.Kataria (not verified) says:

The project of CSIR is very good in the good hands. We appreciate the concern of the CSIR in case the reality of the ground are also incorporated in it. Mr.Rajesh is like good friend who understands, where the shoe is pinching to the deprived rickshaw-puller. Moreover, the question is not of rickshaw-puller, but it lies in the product designed and developed for delivery in respect of value-for-money of the public. So far as per one of the survey, CSIR has spent more than crores of rupees on this project, but the model is still to reach in the hands of end-user.

We are in constant touch with Dr.Sarmah, Mr.Bhatnagar, Mr.Kohli, Dr.Dogra, Mr.Varshney and several others who are very eager to contribute in the project alike. The main hurdle is noticed, the favourable go-ahead signal from the Government Agencies. It is true, so far no civic agency has impounded any soleckshaw, but on the other hand also not gave nod to ply on the public roads. Why the CSIR do not work in this direction first instead of working on the costly models.

India is growing very well and a day will come, it will be super power in future. The cost is not the criteria so far, our team has noticed, for the end-user. They are well-paid in metros and good enough earning in other cities. They are capable to buy even 5-10 Soleckshaws at a time without any funding from outside agencies, but the hitch lies with the support of civic agencies.

We urge the policy-makers at CSIR to bring a support from the Government of India to free this vehicle from the clutches of civic bodies, then see the graph of user of Soleckshaw boosts northward beyond imaginations.

Thanks for giving opportunity!

Ph. 011-27915760, 20466142

CSIR hold discussion with

Rajesh (not verified) says:

CSIR hold discussion with Delhi,Haryana, Rajashthan, West Bangal, UP, Jharkhand and other Governments, for which CSIR expect results for Soleckshaw deployment. The deployment is easy in states other than Delhi, where we are exploring possiblities, in 1st Phase

This design never works. It

Prof.Dr.A.Jagadeesh (not verified) says:

This design never works. It suffers from basic knowledge how a Rikshaw works and commonsense about the efficiency of present Solar Cells. As already stated by me the advantage in the present traditional Rikshaw design is that it reduces the verical force by having inclined body. That is why a rikshaw puller takes half dozen elders and dozen school going children with ease.I don't know how the "GREAT BRAINS" missed this simple point. The body weighs a lot. The efficiency of solar cells available in the market is about 15 per cent. Earlier SOLAR CARS were introduced by ISRAEL in 70s itself,but where are they? CSIR will do well to thoroughly test the technologies they release otherwise the credibility of CSIR labs is lost. Once Some LAB of CSIR sold a process of TARTARIC ACID from Tamarind leaves. If you take green tamarind leaves,the tree won't grow. Dry leaves fly off. One Poor unemployed youth from Andhra Pradesh purchased this process. He was in distress. I suggested him to write to the then Director General of CSIR,Prof.Y.Nayudamma. He did. Prof.nayudamma took the Director of the CSIR lab to task and got the money refunded.There are many processes that appear from CSIR Labs especially CBRI and CFTRI. How many of them commercialised. What happened to Gunny bag cooling(Using solar energy to pump water to the top),Pan Supari Nectar,Instant Idly,etc.,

The Laboratories of CSIR use public money. They should be judicious in their processes and designs for social purpose. Otherwise the credibility of CSIR will be at stake. As somebody put it CSIR stands for COUNCIL FOR SUPPRESSING INDEPENDENT RESEARCH!?

Nayudamma Centre for Development Alternatives
2/210 First Floor
NELLORE 524 002
Andhra Pradesh

After reviewing useful

Rajesh (not verified) says:

After reviewing useful comments on technology from Dr. Jagadeesh on a eralier published article, CMERI has specifically reduced weight below 100 kg, keeping pointed attention on Centre of Gravity of soleckshaw on road.Soleckshaw is recommended for 2 passengers, keeping in view the power assistance from Motor @ 250W.
Soleckshaw, dual power vehicle, is a concept to explore Solar Energy, which is still debatable about availabilitiy and cost effective. CSIR provide the vehicle with dual mode of charging for the alternative from Grid power.
Your comments are valuable to Technology Development.

Thanks for updating my

Yogender Kaushik (not verified) says:

Thanks for updating my knowledge about this valuable information time to time.

I agreed that improved version continue to follow. Its a regular process. but focus should be there to make it available to the right hands and right persons.

I do not know what system has been been derived to market it. But since I attended its one prmotional programme, I am trying to motivate some NGOs and social workers to come forwrds and compaign to replace the traditional one used by the rickshaw pullers.

More information about it will help me to work further. Regds
Yogender Kaushik
Deputy engineer
Haryana state electronics Development corporation
Mobile: 9212204343

CSIR has been working on the

Rajesh (not verified) says:

CSIR has been working on the Innovation on the part of technology and business model, in Government and Private partnership.Initiative are on the way for commercialisation of CSIR-800 technologies. Final user product and process will certainly takes the shape as per market demand. Your suggestions for the innovative business model are welcome.

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