A new category of vehicle is set to hit the Indian roads soon, which can be used interchangeably both as a two-wheeler and three-wheeler. Paving the way for manufacturing of such “combo” vehicles, the road transport ministry has hosted a draft Automobile Industry Standard (AIS) for their type approval requirement on its website and has sought comments from stakeholders. Any vehicle model can be manufactured for sale and registration only after it gets the type approval from the government recognised vehicle testing agencies.
In February 2020, India’s largest two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp had showcased a concept vehicle “Quark 1”, which could be similar to the proposed “vehicle of category L2–5 of Electric Power Train”, for which the draft AIS norms has been published. Sources said once the AIS norm is notified, any automobile company can manufacture such vehicles.
These vehicles would meet dual requirements of a two-wheeler and three-wheeler and can be used either for personal or commercial purpose, sources said. As per the draft notification, the combo vehicles would be electric ones. Though it’s a detachable combination of a two- and three-wheeler, there would be one single registration number for both the vehicles. But each of the “combo vehicles” would have two number plates, one in the front and the other in the rear side of the vehicle.
This category of vehicle is likely to meet the requirement of a sizable number of people as it will give an option to use it either as a two or a three wheeler. For example, in congested areas, the owners can detach the three-wheeler portion and use it as a two-wheeler. “If one runs a shop or a small commercial entity, he can use it as a three wheeler to carry items. At the workplace, he can detach the two-wheeler and use it for commuting. This can be a new solution to urban mobility,” said a source.
The draft AIS standard has been put in the public domain after the proposed norm was approved by the government constituted apex technical committee which recommends new vehicle standards and norms to meet changing requirements. The committee has members from the Centre, government approved testing agencies and representatives from the automobile industry.
As per the draft norm, a rigid frame or chassis of a two-wheeled vehicle shall be joined with the rigid frame or chassis of a non-self-propelled rear module unit to form a unified rigid frame of a three-wheeled vehicle.