Away from the city trying to cope with the corporate world, an automobile engineer at heart, this city boy has created a wonder car right from his home garage. While the rest of us are fervently slogging; clocking those extra hours at work, cutting costs and saving up to one fine day be able to buy that fuel-guzzling, environment-killing ‘dream car’, Shankha Mukherjee has broken away from the herd and created a machine of his own. And no, it’s not another high torque wheeler; it’s a car running entirely on green energy and quite decently too.
Tell us about your car and its specs.
My car is a 1996 Maruti 800 STD, bought used. The motor produces around 5.4 HP, and is powered by a 48 Volts, 100 Ampere Hour tubular lead acid battery pack.
Can you explain how an electric engine works? How is it different from a petrol engine?
In an electric car, a traction motor powers the driving wheels. The motor is powered by batteries, through a speed controller. A power figure of 5 HP sure sounds puny, but the way an electric motor delivers power, is totally different from of an internal combustion(IC) engine. In an IC engine, one needs to build up the revs to reach its peak power, and this engine speed is pretty high, especially in petrol engines.
To understand the power delivery of an electric motor, let us consider an electric bulb. When we switch on an electric bulb, it glows with its full brightness almost instantly. An electric motor, although a lot complicated, works almost in a similar way as that of an electric bulb. Hence, a lesser powered electric car would produce similar performance when compared to a higher powered IC engine, and the available power is much more accessible and consistent.
What is the top speed?
For a maximum motor speed of 3000 RPM, the top speed was calculated to be around 44 Km/Hr.
Now that you are in Mumbai, do you miss your car?
Yes! A lot. My office is about 2 kms from my PG. I usually commute in shared taxis. My Electric Car would have been of great help. Not only it would have helped save the Environment, but also would have encouraged others to switch to Green Technology.
Do you plan on making something similar in Mumbai?
I am afraid that I won’t be able to make anything similar here, because I do not have the resources, as well as time.
Do you use the car when you come to Kolkata? Who uses the car currently?
Yes, I always use it for my nearby commutes considering the range in mind. As of now, an Uncle of mine is using it as he is the only one whom I have trained to drive it.
What would be your message to car owners of Kolkata?
If you have an old car that is lying idle, this is the best treatment that you could give to it. Not only would it save the environment, but would also bring down the running costs. Even if you do not have an idle car, you can definitely get a cheap one and convert it. With improved infrastructure and proper back-up, the electric vehicle industry will hold immense potential. Believe it or not, but this is the future. Go Green!