India is witnessing rapid rise of two-wheelers, representing about 76 per cent of the total, which is over 210 million. Nearly 60,000 two-wheelers per day are being registered in India, consuming 61 per cent of total sale of petrol.
The two-wheelers account for almost 20 per cent of the total carbon dioxide emissions and 30 per cent of the particulate emissions in urban areas. The worst sufferers are the vulnerable sections of society such as growing children, expectantmothers, elderly people and patients having lung problems.
The latest research studies by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago observed that “at the current pollution levels about 510 million people who live in northern India, representing nearly 40 per cent of India’s population, are ontrack to lose 7.6 years of their lives on an average”.
However, by all-out efforts, like two-wheelers e-mobility and gradual phasing out of ‘Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)-based tail pipe emitters’ for mitigating the pollution levels to the WHO’s prescribed levels would mean that an estimated 240 million people in the north Indian state – Uttar Pradesh – would gain about 10 years in life-expectancy. Two wheelers pollute more, having cascading impact in urban areas to an overall particulate matter concentration, observed to be the highest in the world.
On an average, each two-wheeler enriches greenhouse gases by adding around 300 gm/km of carbon dioxide, besides (as per Bharat StageIV standard prescribed limits under standardized conditions) remarkable quantities of pollutants like (1.50 gm/ km) carbon monoxide (known as silent killer) and (1.50 gm/km) hydrocarbons plus oxide of nitrogen, etc. These standard limits normally exceeded because of factors like driving in frequent traffic jams, road conditions, fuel quality, local environmental conditions, etc.
Assuming broadly, around 75 million two-wheelers, having an average of about 250 km/month pacing on the road, will collectively translate around 75m tonnes/year of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, entailing emission of dreaded particulate matter.
The world’s fourth largest energy hungry India (yet behind China, US and the European Union), will according to IEA’s forecast become the third-largest consumer, overlapping European Union by 2030. Though indeed it is a Herculean task to achieve the set goal of IPCC by 2030, it is certainly not impossible.
Realising impending threat to economies, India’s vehicular transportation scenario is set to have a ‘sea change’. Niti Aayog is chalking out a slew of progressive set targets to mitigate and eliminate pollution by pushing the ambitious plans of electrifying two-wheelers and gradually phasing out the sale of ‘ICE-based tail pipe emitters’.
In June 2022, the Aayog, and Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) released a report, Forecasting Penetration of Electric Two-Wheelers in India. Using eight different scenarios – challenged diffusion, performancedriven, low battery cost, technologydriven, incentive-driven, battery cost challenged, same performance, and optimistic scenario— the report predicts the future of electric two-wheelers in India.
Among these, the optimistic scenario predicts 100 per cent penetration of electric two-wheelers by 2027. In the technology-driven scenario, the report predicts a maximum penetration, of 71.54 per cent by 2031, even if demand incentives are withdrawn after financial year 2024.
“With no technological improvement and reduction in battery cost, a penetration level of 21.86 per cent only can be achieved even if incentives are continued till FY 2031. A combination of technological improvement and incentives can achieve 100 per cent penetration,” said the report.
The report provides insights into the required infrastructure, manufacturing capability, policies, and technology-development priorities for EVs. It noted that technology improvement and battery cost reduction are crucial for the electric mobility industry
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