India´s target is to reduce its emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. The target will be reached through emphasis on renewable energy, promotion of clean energy, and enhancing energy efficiency, climate resilient urban centres, sustainable green transportation networks, and through central and state level schemes like Swachh Bharat Mission, Cleaning or rivers, Zero Defect - Zero Effect and Make in India.
India’s urban system with 7933 cities and towns of vastly diverse sizes is the second largest globally. India is also the world’s second most populous country with 1.29 billion inhabitants and an urban population of approximately 430 million. Further, India is projected to rapidly urbanise from presently 33% to 40% by 2030 and add another 416 million urban dwellers by 2050. This process of urbanisation also remains a crucial driver for the India’s economic development, contributing to over 60% of the country’s GDP. As a result, between 2004 and 2012, the share of urban poor declined significantly from 25.7% to13.7%.
India is the world’s third largest GHG emitter after the US and China and contributes 4.4% to the global GHG share. From 1990 to 2014, India’s GHG cumulative emissions were 2279 GtCO2 with per capita emission of 1.76 tCO2. For the same duration, sector-wise contributions relevant for the Urban Pathways initiative were: Energy (Electricity) – 1082 GtCO2 (47.4%), Transport – 232 GtCO2 (10.2%), and Waste – 61 GtCO2 (2.7%). Although a comprehensive GHG inventory for the city of Kochi does not exist, a cumulative study of India’s seven largest cities offers the following sector-wise split of total GHG emissions – commercial energy (15-24%), transport (30%), domestic energy (30-39%), industries (10-20%) and waste management & treatment (3-9%).
With a global share of GHGs emission at 4.1%, India ratified the Paris climate agreement on October 2, 2016. India’s NDCs include a broad scope of putting forward and propagating a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation. Though India’s emission intensity of 0.36 kg CO2/ US$ is 60% less compared to developed countries, India is part of the top 10 global emitters, who contribute over 72% of global GHG emissions.
India’s target is to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 % by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. The target will be reached through emphasis on renewable energy, promotion of clean energy, enhancing energy efficiency, climate resilient urban centres, sustainable green transportation networks, and through central and state level schemes like Swachh Bharat Mission, Cleaning of rivers, Zero Defect - Zero Effect and Make in India.
India communicates its NDC for the period 2021 to 2030:
1. To reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35% by 2030 from 2005 level.
2. To achieve about 40% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF).
3. To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
With the objective of decarbonising the transport sector, the Central Government of India has made promoting of electric mobility as one of its major priorities along with a declaration to achieve 100% EV sales by 2030. This was reiterated by the premier federal think tank NITI (National Institute for Transforming India) Aayog through its landmark report – ‘India Leaps Ahead: Transformative Solutions for All’ to guide all national e-mobility-related policymaking. The NITI Aayog has also proposed the formation of a committee for ‘Zero Emissions Vehicles’ and has submitted a draft Cabinet note to the Parliament proposing steps to promote Electric Vehicles (EVs) in India towards the Centre’s aim of complete electrification by 2030. Further, the NITI Aayog has proposed the formation of six committees to consider various aspects required to create a sustainable business ecosystem for EVs in India. The draft also recommends green number-plates to designate EVs, incentives such as free parking, a country-wide toll-waiver, as well as 10% of reserved parking space in residential and commercial complexes (NDTV, 2018).
The Indian e-mobility sector has seen steady growth in momentum, especially since the central government of India has a target to electrify vehicles more than 30% by 2030. Accordingly, the Central Government has pursued multiple action plans, including subsidies on sales of e-vehicles, as well as setting up charging infrastructure. These efforts have moderately improved Electric Vehicles (EV) uptake across the country. Between 2012 and 2016, the share of EV purchases for all passenger vehicles sold grew from 0% to 1.3%. In January 2018, the Kerala State Government declared a preliminary draft of the policy to promote the use of ‘eco-friendly electric vehicles’. Under its first phase, the State Government is targeting to electrify bus services and auto-rickshaws, currently being fueled by petrol or diesel. Additionally, the State Government also plans to issue future taxi-permits to only e-rickshaws in order to reduce the number of conventional three-wheelers. As a means to promote this initiative, there will be no hike in power tariffs during the first four years of e-rickshaw operations. Towards this, the State Government has even commenced talks with major e-vehicle manufacturers in India such as Mahindra and Gogoro.
In 2004, the State of Kerala’s annual Road Transport CO2 emissions were estimated to be in the range of 14.45 to 19.26 million metric tonnes. For the city if Kochi, the road transport sector contributes 233 tons of tons of CO2 emissions per day or 85,0000 tons annually. These emissions are estimated to more than double to approx. 230,000 tons by 2030 in the absence of effective sustainable transport measures. Public transport – Buses and Ferry 42% (without the Metro system, which was projected to account for 30%), Private cars – 10%, Two-wheelers – 26%, Auto-rickshaws – 7%, Bicycles – 3%. Walking trips are estimated to be 12% as compared to 88% of the total vehicular trips.
The National Urban Transport Policy hopes to achieve its objectives with a slew of measures that promote walking, cycling and public transport, focussing on a more equitable allocation of road space. In realising this objective, the central government would, encourage measures that allocate road space on a more equitable basis, with people as its focus rather than motor vehicles. This can be achieved by reserving lanes and corridors exclusively for public transport and non-motorised modes of travel. The policy also mentions introducing suitable provisions in the Motor Vehicles Act and other instruments to enable stringent penalties for violation of measures taken.
Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) with the vision to provide a mass public transportation system, through government and international funding has implemented “Kochi Metro”, the rail based transportation system to cater to the ever-increasing demand for an efficient public transport system. KMRL has also initiated projects concerning last mile connectivity using electric buses and rickshaws and safe access by focusing on prioritizing NMT/pedestrian projects. The metro rail started operation in June 2017 and is the fastest completed metro project to date in India. The metro rail is also the first metro in the country to integrate with rail, road and water transport modes. Kochi has a plan for 25.6 km (with 25 stations) in the first phase of the metro construction and by the time of opening 13.4 km (with 11 stations) are operational. The cost for the first Phase of the metro is about INR 55,373 billion (US$ 860 million).
Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) through National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) has engaged Urban Mass Transit Company (UMTC) to prepare a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Plan along the proposed metro corridors in Kochi City. The TOD plan would, inter alia, identify all the options available for high-density development along the transit corridors and at transit stations recommending implementation of these measures on priority up to 26 km. The project shall also assess revenue that may be derived from the transit oriented development planning initiatives along the corridor through various value capture techniques.
The NUTP also emphasises the critical role of Intermediate Para-transit (IPT) with an organised mass-transit network and its potential to provide `clean mobility, low emissions and improved safety’. Towards this, the policy also recommends adopting e-rickshaws and regulating their ownership, driver’s license, routes and fare structure. With their passenger capacity and technical specifications, e-rickshaws are especially suited to provide such last-mile connectivity and thereby increase the efficiency ofKochi’s public transportation. Studies have indicated that Kochi’s modal share of public transport is declining at 5.6% annually. Increased ownership of personal vehicles is a major reason for this (Rao Ghorpade et al., 2014). To counter this situation, KMRL is rapidly expanding the Metro network and has also identified 40 routes for providing feeder services. The proposed pilot could align with one of these feeder corridors.
Status of EVs in India
India plans to make a shift to electric vehicles with an ambitions target to electrify vehicles more than 30% by 2030. But currently it’s market penetration is low due to the high price of around 2-2.5 times more than a comparable conventional vehicle, low level of consumers’ acceptance (i.e. lack of demand), low level of electric vehicle manufacturing activities (i.e. lack of supply), lack of comparable products (especially in the 2 Wheel category), non-exis-tent public charging infrastructure etc. But EVs offer a significantadvantage on operating cost compared to a conventional vehicle (lower by one-fourth). The per kilometre cost for an electric car in India is just 0.85 Indian Rs. against 6.5 Indian Rs. for normal cars. The passenger vehicle segments which have achieved maximum EV adoption have been two-wheelers and three-wheelers.
E-Rickshaws in Kochi
The Indian e-mobility sector has seen steady growth in momentum, especially since the central government of India has a target to electrify vehicles more than 30% by 2030. This paper gives an overview of e-mobility in India, on the status of electric vehicles (EVs) in the country, its potential impact, and political and technical support on its implementation. Understanding the EVs overview, the paper then discusses the implementation feasibility and framework concept for e-rickshaws in the city of Kochi. The proposed measure broadly aims at expanding the adoption of electric mobility in Kochi and focuses onimproving the city’s first and last-mile connectivity. The pilot initiative shall comprise of establishing a ful-ly-operational Intermediate Para-transit (IPT) system with a fleet of 10 to 15 e-rickshaws. This fleet is plannedto be operated in either the Fort Kochi or Mattancherry area.
CO2 emission reduction
The transport sector in India accounts for 142 million tons of CO2 emissions, making it 7.5% of the country’s cumulative emissions. Facilitating the transport sector’s clean energy tran- sition would not only address India’s mitigation objectives, but also potentially save USD 27.8 billion of foreign exchange annually by 2030. Estimates also suggest that 30% adoption of e-rickshaws would result in a 7% reduction of India’s CO2 emissionswhile 100% electrification would re- sult in cutting 75% of the same. This especially applies to Kochi where Au- to-rickshaws are the largest contributor to the city’s transport-related emis- sions at 93 tons per day. Conversely, e-rickshaws are a clean mode which emit zero on-site CO2 emissions.
The transport sector in Kochi accounts for 20.2% of the Particulate Matter 2.5 concentration, which is known to cause multiple physi- ological damages. At present, Kochi’s IPT segment mostly comprises of petrol/diesel-fuelled rickshaws operating at an average distance of 63 km per day. This modeis also responsible for emitting significantamounts of harmful pollutants daily – carbon monoxide (3.1 million gm), Particulate Matter 2.5 (148,000 gm) and nitrous oxide (384,000 gm). On the other hand, e-rickshaws release zero pollutants and their large-scale adoption could result insignificant air quality improvement for the city.