New Delhi — Toy maker and plastics processor OK Play India Ltd. is spending nearly $4 million to launch what it says will be the country's first rotationally molded, locally designed electric rickshaw.
The New Delhi company plans to launch its e-rickshaws next month at a local trade show, and sees a chance to make significant inroads in a growing market in India.
“We have invested around INR 15 crore ($3.75 million) on design, development, validation and building platform for the product,” said Managing Director Rajan Handa. The company will make the vehicles at its factories in Gurgaon, near Delhi, and Ranipet, near Chennai.
He said OK Play, which primarily manufactures plastic toys, also plans to set up additional plants to make the rickshaws in the west and east of the country.
“This is not a freight-friendly item,” Handa said. “Therefore, as part of reaching closer to the customers, we are planning two more plants in Pune and Kolkata by the middle of 2016.”
Currently, the company estimates there are about 350,000 e-rickshaws on the streets of big Indian cities like Delhi and Kolkata, but most are imported from China with final assembly in India. Handa said OK Play wants to market its e-rickshaw, called the “Raaja,” as locally built.
“Raaja [has] 94 parts, 91 parts are made by us, [and] we would likely to acquire expertise in making the other three parts like [the] motor also in the next quarter,” he said.
Handa said OK Play is preparing for new regulations in India that will require, after Jan. 1, that all e-rickshaws must meet requirements from India's International Centre for Automotive Technology.
The Raaja weighs 660 pounds, and the four-seat version has a carrying capacity of 1,500 pounds. It can travel up to 62 miles on a charge and has a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour.
The company, which is publicly traded on the Bombay Stock Exchange, said it has capacity to make 1,000 e-rickshaws per day at its existing facilities. It plans to follow up its current four-seat version with a two-seat model.
Handa said the company is looking at export opportunities in neighboring South Asian countries and in Africa.