Refreshing Airflow With A Smaller Footprint

The Superfan, complete with colorful blades and LED power indicator. Photo credit: David Ferris

One of the least likely publications to cover ecological or social issues with any true concern, to our pleasant surprise occasionally runs an interesting story like this one (click the image above to go to the source):

…The fan is the first venture into consumer products for Versa Drives, a Indian manufacturer of alternating-current drives. Managing Director Sundar Muruganandhan said that the Superfan uses 35 watts of electricity in a country where the standard efficient fan is rated at 75 watts. In fact, Muruganandhan said, the fan blows past the country’s existing ratings system so thoroughly that a new index might be required.

The fan has other features that set it apart: a five-speed remote control, in a country where the fan speed is usually controlled by a dial on the wall; and a feature that prevents the fan from slowing down and speeding up as the voltage fluctuates, which sometimes happens here (the grid in India is less stable than that in the United States). Most noticeable for customers, though, will be the merrily-colored blades, which come in a bright yellow, purple and red, breaking a monotonous streak among Indian ceiling whirligigs.

Hipness comes at a cost. Prices start at 3,000 rupees ($55 U.S.), while competing fans go for 2,000 rupees ($37). But lower energy bills will save between 420 and 767 rupees ($8 – $14) a year, Muruganandhan said. Will customers, especially the young things targeted in the company’s music video, be able to see the savings through their sticker shock? Only time will tell.

The first market for the fans will be South Indian states such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala, beginning with a somewhat humble output of 400 fans a day from Versa Drives’ factory in Coimbatore. If things go well, Muruganandhan said, the company will enter the $3 billion global ceiling-fan market, particularly in other regions with hot, humid climates such as Vietnam, South Africa — and even Florida.

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