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Featured Image: Mahesh Kulkarni, Mahindra & Mahindra vice-president marketing for commercial vehicles, at the launch in Kolkata on Monday.  

Kolkata: AUTOMOBILE giant Mahindra & Mahindra today forayed into a new segment that has hitherto been dominated by unorganised manufacturers and branded automobile companies hardly have had paid a heed.

The company today launched in Kolkata a range of e-rickshaws, which are more popular in the suburbs of Bengal as Toto. The battery-driven three-wheeler vehicle has almost revolutionised local commute in the suburbs for the past two / three years.

Launching their own e-rickshaw, named e-Alfa Mini, in the city today, Mahesh Kulkarni, Mahindra & Mahindra vice-president marketing for commercial vehicles, said that they hope to gradually take over the e-rickshaw market from unorganised manufacturers.

“The e-rickshaws available in the market so far were basically an assembled output with no proper design, safety check, and after-sales service. Now, we are the first organised automobile company to launch a much-improved version of this eco-friendly vehicle designed with minute care for safety, comfort, and efficiency,” Kulkarni said.

Mahindra is manufacturing the e-rickshaw at its plant at Haridwar in Uttarakhand and will be shipping them to Bengal and the rest of the country. In Kolkata, the ex-showroom price of an e-Alfa Mini e-rickshaw is Rs 1.27-lakh and comes with one year warranty on body and six months warranty on battery. Then there are six months of free servicing.

“Add to that another around Rs 14,000 for registration, road taxes, and insurance, and a person with valid licence can hit the road with an e-Alfa Mini right away,” Kulkarni said. He added that as of now, unorganised manufacturers are selling around 5,000 e-rickshaws a month in India and around 700-1,000 in Bengal.

“The added advantage for our e-rickshaw is that the buyer will get guaranteed 60-minute service at our authorised service centres. Furthermore, those buying the vehicle with our in-house finance will get the warranty automatically extended to two years and the first battery will be replaced for free. A battery normally runs for nine months, and new battery costs around Rs 25, 000,” he said.

Mahindra has plans to introduce the e-rickshaw in places like Asansol, Siliguri, Guwahati, and another seven-eight tier II and III towns by this fiscal year.