Addressing the Environmental Feasibility of Electric Rickshaws
In recent times electric rickshaw has been applauded as an environmentally sound and clean mode of transport. In contrast, the conventional fuel vehicles have proved to be extremely detrimental to the environment owing to their huge carbon emissions. This study is an attempt to quantify the impact of four modes of urban transit—e rickshaws, auto rickshaws, mini buses and buses, based on a primary survey of 220 e-rickshaw drivers from different areas of Delhi and methods of calculating carbon emissions adopted globally. The results conclude that the average kg of carbon emission is the lowest for the e-rickshaws as compared to the other fuel vehicles. However, the extent of contribution of e-rickshaws in greenhouse gas reduction is compromised due to carbon emissions from electricity generation required for charging the battery of the vehicle. Other challenges include disposal and recycling of lead batteries, energy losses and metal depletion which have environmental consequences of their own. As a result, the feasibility of solar batteries in e-rickshaws is explored. Finally, the paper suggests policy recommendations for improving the environmental profile of e-rickshaws. These include renewable sources for sustainable electricity generation, time of use electricity rates, a system of mother power stations to supply charged batteries to other local distribution points, and disposal and recycle systems of existing batteries.
KeywordsE-rickshaw Environmental effects Carbon emission Sustainable Battery-disposal
This study has been conducted as part of the Innovation Project DRC 310, under the guidance of Mr. V. Packirisamy (Add. Gen. Manager, Power Finance Corporation Ltd.) and supported by a grant from the University of Delhi.
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