Government representatives from 18 Indian cities deliberate over actions to accelerate the transition towards sustainable e-mobility.
Electric mobility is gaining momentum in India with the continuous efforts from the Government of India (GOI) and other stakeholders leading to increased uptake of electric vehicles. However, now there is a growing need to discuss the accelerated transition towards sustainable e-mobility focusing on the strategic expansion of charging infrastructure, identifying and develop on high-impact modes, and further improving and maintaining the Electric Vehicle (EV) uptake pace in India.
Keeping the growing need to work towards sustainable e-mobility, ICLEI South Asia organised a two-day Cities dialogue focusing on “Leadership Role of Cities for Accelerated Transition Towards Sustainable E-Mobility in India” from 13th – 14th October 2022 at The Claridges, New Delhi, which was followed by a site visit on 15th October. The city dialogue brought together representatives from 18 Indian cities, 6 state government agencies, 11 public transport operators and national government officials, sectoral experts along with representatives from advocacy groups and the private sector.
The discussions during the city dialogues focused on the assessment of the E-mobility ecosystem undertaken by ICLEI South Asia in 10 Indian cities which includes existing EV uptake patterns, identifying and prioritising high-impact modes for electrification, strategic expansion of charging infrastructure, and a discussion on actions required for sustainable electrification of freight at the city level.
In the inaugural session, Yasmin Kidwai, Councillor, SDMC, Delhi, & ICLEI Regional Executive Committee (REXCom) Member spoke about the role of city governments in spreading awareness and changing buildings by-laws, while Emani Kumar, Deputy Secretary General, ICLEI and Executive Director, ICLEI South Asia emphasised on the importance of decarbonisation of mobility sector to combat climate change challenges and urged that government authorities at all levels should come together for promoting e-mobility.
For the first session, the city officials deliberated on the need and collaborations required for the formulation of city-level e-mobility vision and policy which is essential to decarbonise the urban mobility system. While the second session touched upon the long-term planning approach to fleet electrification and demand creation and addressed city-specific needs in tenders and contracts and ways of building technical and operational capacity within government bodies.
In another engaging discussion, the city officials deliberated on the electrification of public transport and shared their plans for transitioning towards e-buses while discussing the major issues and challenges incurred due to the cost of electricity needed for charging. Vyankatesh N Sawant, Municipal Engineer-II, Corporation of The City of Panaji and Henry Austin, Councillor, Kochi Municipal Corporation; R. Ratheesh, Councillor, Kochi Municipal Corporation presented on action plans developed as part of EcoLogistics project to decarbonise the urban freight sector and pilots project on electrification of Light Commercial Vehicles as part of EcoLogistics Project. The participating cities identified as electrification of lCV should be the initial priority of local bodies and eventually discuss the phased-wise transition of medium and heavy-duty vehicles.
The last session on day one of the workshop threw the spotlight on the significance of e-rickshaws which is a breakthrough in electrification in Indian cities. It was discussed that in spite of E-rickshaws being demand-responsive, comfortable, affordable, flexible, and convenient last-mile choices for commuters, very limited actions are being discussed to transfer the current operational model into more sustainable ones. The speakers discussed bringing gender equality in electrification and how e-rickshaws have become a preferred mode of transportation despite infrastructure-related barriers.