UEMI Presents at the 2018 Better Air Quality Conference
Session recording: https://www.facebook.com/CleanAirAsia/videos/264431697749931/ The Urban Electromobility Initiative (UEMI) shared insights regarding the essential building blocks for accelerating electric mobility in Asian cities at the 10thBetter Air Quality Conference held in Kuching, Malaysia last November 14-16, 2018. These insights were shared at the “Roadmap to Real Zero-Emission Mobility” session that was organized by the United Nations Environment and Clean Air Asia.
Alvin Mejia, representing the Wuppertal Institute, delivered a presentation which focused on sharing valuable insights from the implementation of the UEMI pilot project in Kochi, India which involves the procurement and on-the-ground testing of 10-15 units of electric rickshaws. The City of Kochi is located in the State of Kerala and has a metropolitan population of 2.1 million people. Approximately half of the road transport CO2 emissions in the city are from the traditional rickshaws. Recent developments in the national policy environment have been instrumental in accelerating electric mobility initiatives at the local level. For example, a National E-mobility Plan was launched by the Minister of Power this year. The Ministry of Power also declared that charging stations would not need to acquire a license, as vehicle charging are to be considered as a “service” and not “selling of electricity.” They did, however, issued a set of national guidelines for charging infrastructure, and aim to release guidelines for power distribution companies and EV charging service providers. NITI (National Institute for Transforming India) Aayog also proposes the formation of a Committee for ‘Zero Emissions Vehicles’ to consider various aspects required to create a sustainable ecosystem for EVs in India. At the state-level, the Kerala State Government Government declared a preliminary draft of the policy to promote the use of ‘eco-friendly electric vehicles’ earlier this year. The State Government also plans to issue future taxi-permits only to electric-rickshaws in the future.
While there are significant strides in moving towards better enabling policy environments, challenges have been met in the implementation of the pilot project in Kochi such as: lack of clear policy and registration procedure at state and municipal levels; negative perception of e-rickshaws primarily due to their speeds; lack of supporting street infrastructure; long-charging times and expensive battery technologies; lack of professional associations in the City; availability of maintenance facilities and spare parts.
Dr. Nuwong Chollacoop of the Thailand National Metal and Materials Technology Center shared best practices in terms of well-to-wheel emissions calculation and emphasized the importance of incorporating local contexts in such analyses. There are several options in moving towards less emissions-intensive transport systems, but not all are appropriate for certain contexts.
Dr. Axel Friedrich, a world-renowned expert on vehicle emissions shared the experiences in Europe in moving towards zero emissions mobility. He discussed how private car companies have utilized “defeat devices” aimed at beating standardized emissions tests. Real-world testing reveals that real on-road emission factors can be several orders of magnitude above the tested emission factors. He emphasized that retrofits involving selective catalytic reduction (SCR) retrofits can be done in cars affected by the “diesel-gate” scandal but urged that the private companies shoulder the costs. He also mentioned that Germany has moved towards allowing cities to ban diesel vehicles that are not compliant with Euro 6/VI emission standards. Sustainable transport funding is also being made available to fund electric vehicle charging infrastructure, public transport network improvements, as well as cycling infrastructure improvements. He reiterated the importance of enforcing standards, and that resources be allocated towards strengthening such enforcement processes.
Dr. Horizon Gitano of Focus Applied Technologies talked about electric two-wheelers in Asia. The emergence of such have been seen particularly in the young and old market segments, driven by ease of use, costs, drivability, as well as the efficiency of these vehicles (i.e. 6 electric bikes are more efficient than 6 people in a car). He mentions that a critical challenge with such vehicles is the unpredictability of their performance in the future. Lifetime costs are very hard to predict as the lifetimes themselves are quite different from what are normally stated by the manufacturers. Moreover, these vehicles naturally come with conflicts against pedestrians and cars and can overwhelm the city infrastructure. He emphasizes the importance of standards, and that there are practical ways of generating such standards. He discusses the importance of collecting data for such vehicles. For example, in Bangladesh, there are an estimated 600 thousand electric two and three wheelers on the road, but they don’t have official statistics on them as they are not registered. He also recommends that such vehicles need to be integrated in the wider context of urban and transportation planning.
Mr. Shoichi Ichikawa of Toyota Motor Corporation discussed Toyota’s roadmap towards zero emissions mobility. The company is looking into several strategic initiatives relating to sustainability, such as those focusing on the following: CO2 emissions, lifecycle impacts, recycling. The company recognizes the importance of diversification, and the contextualization of their products and services to suit the local situation in their markets. They aim to have battery-electric vehicle versions for all their vehicle models by 2020. He also mentioned that proper regulatory frameworks and incentives are critical in incentivizing lower-emissions vehicles.
The discussions between the panelists and the audience reveal the importance of considering wider systemic impacts such as land use impacts due to conversion of land for biofuel production, well-to-tank emissions from fossil-fired power plants, as well as impacts due to the need to recycle batteries for electric vehicles. Other measures such as innovative schemes for diverting fees from more polluted vehicles towards subsidizing cleaner ones, as well as the issuance of warranties for protecting electric vehicle consumers were also suggested. The roadmap towards zero emissions mobility will involve solutions that are not just based on technology. While there are cleaner, less-pollutive options, these do not necessarily equate to “zero-emissions,” but aiming for zero will ensure that the best possible options are sought after.