Four little cars will chug out of the city on Saturday, powered purely by battery, and bearing with them the message of fuel-free driving.
A group from Switzerland has tied up with the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay’s (IIT-B) Techfest team for a campaign that will take them through several cities over 15 days. The drive will showcase battery-operated vehicles and advocate a shift to less polluting, fuel-independent cars.
“We face problems of pollution. The petrol era is drawing to an end,” said Louis Palmer, leading the contingent of 10 and declared the UN Champion of the Earth this year. Palmer, who circumnavigated the globe in a solar-powered taxi two years ago.
The cars on the road trip — the Mahindra Reva, Twike, Tango and Think — are charged periodically by connecting them to a power outlet. Six to eight hours of charging the battery lasts for about 150km non-stop.
Such cars cost more than the usual fuel-powered vehicles, but the owners say it makes more sense in the long term. “The running cost is low and the battery lasts long,” said Paul Schweizer, who will also be driving a battery-operated car on the trip.
The road trip will begin on Saturday, with the first stopover at Pune. During the course of the campaign, the drivers will visit schools and colleges to conduct sessions and exhibitions on the benefits of such cars and the possibility of a greener automobile industry. “Electric vehicles are the future and we are looking to inspire the youth to move to such vehicles,” said Suparna Gharpure, manager of Techfest 2012, explaining the tie-up. “This year, one of our aims was to promote green technology.”