March 03, 2021

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Electric auto rickshaw or Electric rickshaw? How to identify?

Electric auto rickshaw

Electric auto rickshaw or Electric rickshaw

 We often see 3 wheelers on road escaping the urban traffic like a pro and fitting themselves into tight spaces or narrow lanes. This is a taxi but not a 4-wheel car and it’s called auto-rickshaw in India and Tuk-tuk in a Southeast Asian region. Countries around the world have different versions and categories for these 3-wheeled vehicles. How to differentiate when you spot one on-road or willing to own one? Let us now talk more about electric auto-rickshaw in detail. 

Let’s take a quick look at history. Rickshaws are technically 3-wheel vehicles which can be pulled or moved forward by pedaling action. In order to reduce the pedaling strain an engine is added and it’s named as Auto rickshaw. It has a top speed that is more when compared to pedaling and you need a valid driver’s license to drive it.

Electric auto-rickshaw

However, driving a human-powered rickshaw driving doesn’t need a license. Due to electrification of the automotive sector and last-mile transportation sector, the electric rickshaws took over pedaling rickshaws. These electric rickshaws have a separate license and registration rules. 

So, what differentiates an electric rickshaw and electric auto-rickshaw when both of these require a driver’s license, registration and both of these are 3 wheeled? 

In India, an electric rickshaw has a seating capacity of 4+1 including driver and an electric cargo rickshaw has a single person(driver) seating with cargo loading space. Both of these E-rickshaws have a top speed below 25kmph which technically makes them be called as “rickshaw” However, the electric auto rickshaw comes under the category of L5M and has a seating capacity of 3+1 including driver which is the category as per the Indian automotive categorization.  


These categorizations may vary from one country to another and you don’t need a driver’s license to ride these vehicles in few countries because they are last-mile transportation which doesn’t require any license. 

Related: Top 10 electric auto-rickshaws in India

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About The Author

Electric vehicle enthusiast constantly in the pursuit of interesting content related to EV innovations, startups, market research and policies. I am a mechanical engineer with cross-functional work experience in EV sector.

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