In India, some 93% of the country’s three-wheel auto-rickshaws run on fossil fuels, and many of the ones that are electric are powered by lead-acid batteries with life spans of just six to nine months. Power Global’s eZee module, a lithium-ion battery that lasts at least five years, can be swapped with a charged unit at any of the company’s growing network of kiosks. It’s the winner of the developing-world technology category of Fast Company’s 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards.
“We can offer 25% to 35% cost savings per day for the drivers—which is huge when you’re making somewhere between $5 and $10 a day,” says Power Global founder Porter Harris.
Rickshaw manufacturer Rap Eco Motors is negotiating for 50,000 conversion kits, which it says will eliminate 3.7 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere annually—almost the entire yearly emissions of a single coal-fired power plant. While Power Global is starting with three-wheelers—there are 7 million in India—Harris says that the eventual goal is to produce a similar kind of lithium battery for motorcycles, which will have big potential worldwide. “You get into the market with the three-wheelers and then really hit it with the motorcycle, then you can go anywhere,” he says.