World Environment Day: Non-polluting e-rickshaws to lead India’s EV revolution

India’s e-mobility transition is spearheaded by small vehicle segments, particularly, the ubiquitous electric rickshaw. The e-rickshaw is the preferred mode of last-mile commute for office goers, especially in and around metro routes and highly populated pockets. Overall, India is home to 1.5 million battery-powered electric rickshaws, catering to over 60 million users every day, for whom affordable mobility is critical. E-rickshaws not only form an important part of the mobility ecosystem in tier II and III cities like Lucknow, Varanasi, Dehradun, Ranchi, Patna, and Udaipur but also are an eco-friendly last-mile commute option for Tier I cities like Delhi, Noida, and Gurugram.

India’s fleet of e-rickshaws is much larger than all the electric cars sold in China since 2011, and second only to China’s massive fleet of electric two-wheelers. Notably, the economic slowdown has not affected the manufacture and sale of e-rickshaws much. As many as 11,000 electric rickshaws are sold every month in the country today, as against the 4,000 electric rickshaws that were sold in all of 2010. While 98% of the electric rickshaws have been sold in the unorganised market, safety and import regulations of the 2010s have created a level playing field for all, evident by the emergence of organised manufacturers such as Kinetic Green, Hero Electric, Mahindra & Mahindra, Bajaj, Piaggio, Lohia, Gayam Motors, and others.

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