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Enabling the Shift to Electric Auto-rickshaws: A Guidebook for Electrification of Auto-rickshaw Fleets in Indian Cities

Auto-rickshaws are a key mode of affordable and shared mobility in Indian cities, serving up to 25 percent of all motorized trips. They are especially popular among women and other vulnerable groups who have lower vehicle ownership and diverse travel needs that public transport networks do not meet.

Electric auto-rickshaws (e-autos) offer significant environmental and socio-economic benefits, such as reducing carbon emissions, improving air quality, and lowering vehicle operating costs for drivers. Despite these benefits, e-autos account for a mere 6 percent of new vehicle registrations as of 2023. The central and state governments have ambitious targets to increase the adoption of e-autos. The Government of India has committed to achieving an 80 percent sectoral penetration rate for electric three-wheelers by 2030, with various states also setting their targets and offering incentives to promote e-autos.

This guidebook is a ready reckoner for governing authorities and policy makers to help them adopt a programmatic and integrated approach to create a robust ecosystem for a just e-auto transition. Tailored for sub-national governments, it outlines a roadmap equipped with policy and regulatory levers to accelerate e-auto adoption and overcome the challenges involved. Three case studies on auto-rickshaw electrification initiatives in Indian cities form the core of the guidebook, highlighting enabling measures such as efficient charging networks and accessible financing options.

The guidebook is a collaborative effort between WRI India and the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) under the City Investments to Innovate, Integrate and Sustain (CITIIS) program.

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