India's mobility revolution is propelling it forward globally - Hindustan Times
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India's mobility revolution is propelling it forward globally

Jun 17, 2024 12:09 PM IST

This article is authored by Ashok Vashist, founder and CEO, WTiCabs.

Electric rickshaws on Delhi roads in 2010 marked the first milestone in the Indian mobility industry’s transformation. Today, electric vehicles (EVs), with their sustainable approach and alternative transportation mode proposition, have created a hype in the mobility market. Driven by tech advancements and innovative solutions, the market is undergoing several shifts. Looking at the future, we need to develop a mobility system that is environmentally-friendly, integrated, automated, and personalised. Trends like EVs, shared mobility, and autonomy will be pivotal in shaping the future landscape of the mobility industry in India.

EV(ABC)
EV(ABC)

We are heavily reliant on private vehicles powered by fossil fuels. As a result, issues like congestion, pollution and lack of parking facilities hamper mobility. The increasing population and rising urbanisation are further putting a burden on the existing mobility infrastructure. India must invest heavily in modernising its public transportation systems, with expansive metro rail networks, high-speed trains, and bus services that connect urban and rural areas and enable seamless mobility. To achieve this goal, the government should prioritise building smart, safe, and strategic modes of transportation. It is equally important to support this vision with clean energy infrastructure.

We are witnessing a gradual shift from traditional ICE vehicles powered by fossil fuels to green alternatives like EVs or hybrid vehicles. The transition is being facilitated across all vehicle segments, from two-wheelers and cars to buses and commercial vehicles. Today, when the transportation industry accounts for more than 6% of India's overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the electrification of mobility is a significant move to reduce carbon footprint and dependence on fossil fuels. The EV momentum that we see today is expected to pick up pace in the future. Policies like FAME II, PLI schemes, and state-wise programmes will help accelerate this shift and carve the path towards a sustainable mobility landscape.

India has set ambitious targets of 30% EV penetration by 2030 and achieving a net-zero target by 2070; ~50% of the global sales in light-duty vehicles (LDV) sales are targeted to be zero-EVs by 2035. The government is making concerted efforts to drive the transition to green mobility through the rapid adoption of EVs. To achieve these targets and facilitate India’s transition towards EV deployment, we need policy support from the Central and state governments, infrastructure development, technology innovations, and increasing consumer awareness.

Another trend we will witness by 2035 is the surge in the adoption of autonomous vehicles for public and private transport. This will enhance safety, reduce congestion, and improve the efficiency of mobility solutions. Also known as self-driving cars, they will be an integral part of the overall mobility landscape in the times ahead. With advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI), sensor technologies, and a growing need for safer and more efficient transportation solutions, autonomous vehicles will gain popularity. They will provide an effective solution to growing traffic congestion and improve transportation efficiency. In fact, we also expect to see electric autonomous vehicles (AV-Es) transforming the mobility landscape. Offering the advantages of both EVs and autonomous technology, these vehicles will be a more efficient and sustainable transportation choice in the future. AV-Es will increase on-road safety and alleviate traffic congestion by reducing human error, which is the primary reason for 94% of collisions and will lead to a faster commute.

To deal with the current challenges faced by the mobility industry in India, we need to establish a robust shared mobility infrastructure. It will drive the shift from an ownership model of private vehicles to usership of shared vehicle options. Expansion of ride-sharing, carpooling, and bike-sharing services, supported by technology platforms, can offer convenient, cost-effective, and eco-friendly commuting options.

With technological advancements, the mobility industry will adopt the utilisation of big data, AI, and predictive analytics to optimise traffic flow, manage transportation networks efficiently, and personalise commuter experiences. Moreover, Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is a relatively new concept in India. However, with the support of the government, it can become an important part of the mobility industry. We will see the market expanding exponentially in the future with India utilising its tech prowess and integrated mobility solutions. It will gain momentum as it will offer consumers the ability to effortlessly organise trips in a flexible and personalised way by integrating transportation into a single service. Various transportation modes integrated into a single accessible service will allow for seamless planning, booking, and payment of multimodal journeys.

The Indian mobility industry is at the cusp of the development curve. Ten years from now, the mobility landscape will be different from what it is today. We will see a robust transportation system supported by a clean energy infrastructure. To lay the foundation for a strong mobility landscape ten years from now, a strong emphasis must be on reducing carbon footprints through green mobility initiatives, renewable energy-powered transport solutions, and stringent emission regulations. Corporations and urban planners must focus on sustainable commuting programmes, promoting the use of public transportation, cycling, and walking, backed by subsidies and incentives. The stakeholders must sustain their focus on developing infrastructure that supports efficiency and eco-friendly mobility, including dedicated lanes for public transport and non-motorised vehicles. With revolutions and transformations in its mobility infrastructure and practices, India is poised to emerge as a leader in sustainable and smart transportation on the global stage.

This article is authored by Ashok Vashist, founder and CEO, WTiCabs.

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