Energy & Environment
Safe and affordable e-rickshaws, guaranteeing sustainable livelihoods whilst reducing air pollution and carbon emissions.
India currently has more than 10 million cycle rickshaws drivers, almost all of whom live below the poverty line. The cost of renting the vehicles is high and the work of driving a rickshaw is exhausting. The alternative, auto-rickshaws, are also expensive for drivers to rent, and although the work is less physically demanding, they are polluting and noisy due to their diesel and petrol engines. Women in poor, socially conservative communities would not normally be seen driving rickshaws, leaving them with few opportunities for employment other than domestic work.
SMV Green’s vision is to provide affordable, clean and safe mobility for both drivers and commuters, and eliminate the drudgery of cycle rickshaw work by helping drivers switch to electric rickshaws (e-rickshaws). They are providing opportunities for marginalised people with the ability to own an e-rickshaw and create their own sustainable business. SMV Green helps its customers obtain easy financing and also supports them in licensing and registration procedures. It is also ensuring safe transportation for women in these cities by empowering women from low income backgrounds to take up e-rickshaws as a profession (called ‘Vahinis’).
SMV Green is enabling asset ownership among poorer segments of the society – all while increasing their income from $3, at the lowest end, to more than $12 per day. It is also bringing a behavioural change by allowing women to participate as drivers in a male dominated industry. SMV has enabled 1038 e-rickshaw ownerships, of which 550 are in Varanasi, and the company estimates that it has reduced 2076 tonnes of CO2 emissions since its inception.