The world's first hydrogen-powered three-wheeler, 'HyAlfa', was showcased at the 11th Auto Expo in New Delhi on Monday.
Part of a development project dubbed 'DelHy 3w', a fleet of 15 HyAlfa three-wheelers will run on an experimental basis at Pragati Maidan, where a hydrogen refuelling station has also been set up.
India Trade Organisation Promotion (ITPO) will use the vehicles on an experimental basis.
The HyAlfa has been developed under a joint project by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) International Centre for Hydrogen Energy Technologies (ICHET), Mahindra & Mahindra and IIT-Delhi, with support from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
"The aim of this project is to convert vehicles so that they can carry and use hydrogen -- a carbon-free fuel -- and thus remove all pollutants," Mahindra & Mahindra president (Automotive and Farm Equipment Sectors) Pawan Goenka told reporters in New Delhi.
He said the vehicle is not yet ready for commercial production and further fine-tuning will be required before moving in that direction.
"Moreover, we also have to look at commercial viability of running a hydrogen-powered three-wheeler as the cost of hydrogen will be around Rs 250 per kg, which is not affordable at all," he said.
Asked about the possible price of HyAlfa, he said, "When the product is on mass production, it will cost Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 more than a CNG three-wheeler."
On an average, a CNG three-wheeler costs close to Rs 2 lakh.
Commenting on the development, UNIDO-ICHET Managing Director Mustafa Hatipoglu said the DelHy 3W projects aims to demonstrate hydrogen technologies developed by Indian partners for the Indian transport sector.
Project coordinator IIT-Delhi professor LM Das said HyAlfa marks a journey of 20 years from "laboratory to land".
ITPO chairperson-cum-managing director Rita Menon said the hydrogen-powered three-wheeler could play a role in moving toward a newer, sustainable and eco-friendly mode of transportation.
"We are happy to be a part of this project and are specially excited about the cargo version," she said, adding that her organisation plans to submit a report within three months on the vehicle's performance to the project organisers.