Future of mobility: Shared, smart, safe and sustainable

To prepare for the future, India must start by investing in a robust infrastructure of EV charging docks and promoting alliances between civic bodies and private companies to reach the masses.

August 23, 2021 6:05 PM

Every day nowadays is a reminder to adopt sustainable and greener lifestyles. According to studies, India is the third most polluting country in the world, and twenty-two of the world’s 30 most polluted cities based on the Air Quality Index (AQI) are Indian. Diesel vehicles are responsible for 66% (1) of air pollution-related deaths in India. Another report said that 40% (2) of air pollution in India is attributed to vehicular emissions.

The multiplying number of gasoline and diesel-powered automobiles is a double-edged sword that exploits our natural resources on one side and contributes awfully to global warming on the other. India, as a country of examples, must ‘grow responsibly’.

We are facing the dichotomy of being tagged as the fastest growing economy and being a member of the Paris agreement with a commitment towards environment conservation. How can we do this?

To start with, we could all switch our mobility choice to an environmentally safe one since air pollution is arguably the most chronic with an immediate genetic effect on human health and biodiversity as a whole.

EV is the Key

Automobiles are an integral part of our lifestyle but traditionally we have encouraged vehicles that exploit fossil fuel. Hence, they have a high carbon footprint. But, today and the future demand more sustainable ways of transportation. The future of mobility is Shared, Smart, Sustainable, Small and Safe.

1. Shared- Fewer vehicles needed per capita as a cheaper mode of mobility.

2. Smart- Convenient real-time availability with instant planning and execution.

3. Sustainable- Green solutions with real positive impact on the environment which is economically justifiable.

4. Small- Practical solutions to reduce traffic congestion in small towns to big cities.

5. Safe- Solo ridership with natural social distancing especially needed during the Pandemic.

Electric Vehicles come here as a blessing as they are an eco-friendly mode of mobility with less carbon footprint that reduces dependency on fossil fuels. In the recent past, EVs have gained popularity in India. This is primarily fuelled by public-private partnerships that are making electric vehicles accessible to customers.

There is also a shift in customer preferences due to the rising fuel prices making it relatively more affordable for the Indian economy in the long run. Traditionally, India has been a two-wheeler country. Even amongst car owners, two-wheelers are popular in traffic congestion.

Thus, we need to scooterise the trajectory towards the electric mobility alternatives in India. Compared to cars, scooters are lightweight and hence EV scooters run efficiently on cost-effective batteries. An easy-to-use solution, two-wheeler EVs can be charged using existing plug points in the Indian houses and have less engine sound due to the small electrified engine. The Indian government has been promoting EVs and has reduced GST from 12% to 5% on EVs, and the future is bright especially with smart city planning and its transformational objective.

One of the biggest challenges for EV adoption in India would be its affordability to the larger customer base. A strategic way to make EVs more affordable would be to promote “shared EV mobility alternatives”. This would not only help India meet its environmental goals but also make EVs affordable for the masses.

To prepare for that future, India must start today by investing in a robust infrastructure of charging docks and promoting alliances between civic bodies and private companies to reach the masses.

The companies need to create a unique battery-swapping network that is low cost and highly scalable. This framework should be accessible to its users and operate with a skillful team to keep the process running in place in the viable areas.

Indian cities are still developing the infrastructure for parking shared vehicles. The service providers must work with cities in a collaborative manner that can give access to prime real estate to create sustainable models for EVs.

You for Nature

Today, mobility is transforming the way we get ready for a convalescing future. The shift towards EV will not be instant, but metamorphic. History is a living example that only socially cognizant and insightful people can bring about a radical change in society. Even the Wright brothers were laughed at for their idea of a flying automobile.

(Sources)
1 – Study by International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), Milken Institute School of Public Health from George Washington University, and the University of Colorado Boulder

2 – Mint interview with Anumita Roy Chowdhury, Executive Director (Research & Advocacy), Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)

Author: Amit Gupta, Founder & CEO, Yulu Bikes

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not represent those of The Indian Express Group or its employees.

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