Moving Together: The Rise of Shared and Electric Mobility in India
12 April, 2019
By Akash Gupta, founder and CEO of Mobycy.
It is the tipping point for shared mobility in India. The paradigm shift is propelled by tectonic developments in the present times, including the rise of young population demographics, India’s transition to a mobile-first economy, and the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem covering leaps and bounds to solve the real-world problems such as pollution and congestion on roads and re-imagine the world that we live in. The confluence of these disparate and yet well-aligned factors has risen the stakes for Indian in the shared mobility space; a recent report by Morgan Stanley confirms the same, claiming that India is expected to be a leader in shared mobility by 2030 as the shared mile economics will improve with the rising share of electric and autonomous vehicles.
When we carefully analyse India, it seems to have all the right ingredients favouring large-scale adoption of shared e-mobility. For a shared mobility plan to be successfully implemented, the nation should have large clusters of population. India’s large population size, thus, works in its favour, as the 50 Indian cities with a population over 1 million and 61 cities with a population greater than 850,000 provide the perfect fertile grounds of opportunities for the implementation.
In addition to the large size of the population, the current infrastructure – or the limitations in the same, support the advent of shared mobility. Intercity transport development has been sluggish, requiring major overhauls. However, there has been a growth in mobile internet users in India, along with the rise of young demographic. Owing to cheaper mobile internet and smartphones, every passing day increases the number of Indian connecting to the internet. Besides, as per the data shared by the World Bank, 850 million Indians are aged below 35. Instead of owning a personal vehicle, the generation is more likely to adopt new trends such as shared mobility.
The rise of smart shared e-mobility
E-mobility has been on the agenda of the government bodies and the socially-conscious Green Tech start-ups. At the time of announcing this year’s interim budget, the interim Finance Minister shared his vision of achieving 30% of electric vehicles in the entire mobility mix by 2030. The Delhi government took a notch further and allocated INR 100 Cr for the state electric vehicle fund. The announcement was made during the 2019-20 budget. The budget allocation is meant to usher the city into electric mobility and better public transportation.
However, bringing about such colossal changes and paradigm shifts require more than budget allocations. The task is, thus, being taken up by the fast-growing green tech and sustainability start-ups in India. Understanding is crucial for disruption; in India, 5 KM radius defines nearly 80% of the commute. Thus, huge potential lies in utilising short-mile connectivity to usher India into a state of electric mobility. This space is being filled up by dockless e-bikes. Some of the features favouring the adoption of e-bikes are as follows:
- Fitted with IoT devices and geo-navigation, the dockless e-bikes can be hired remotely from the vicinity and freely parked anywhere upon the completion of the ride, with the only exception of private compounds and gated communities.
- The e-bikes are hired through an app, which solves the anxiety one may have in using the same. The app informs commuters about the existing battery levels and the range the e-bike can cover, thus helping the commuters make a well-informed choice.
- The speed of these e-bikes up for hire is 25 KMs/hour. This is in line with the government’s directive, hence not requiring the commuters to carry a driving license while riding the same. As we take the limitation of a driving license out of the scenario, we enhance the chances of possible use-cases, ranging from students to corporate professionals, home-makers and more.
- The e-bikes are up for hire around the city’s pivotal hot-spots, metro stations, and marketplaces. These are the areas where commuters are in the urgent need of seamless and hassle-free mobility, thus taking care of the adoption. When pressed against no availability or high-costing short-mile commute options, users are more likely to give e-bikes a shot.
- The ‘Uber for e-bikes’ model works perfectly with the young consumer demographic in India, which has already demonstrated a preference for subscription-based services instead of owning items, including movies, songs, TV shows, houses, furniture, amongst others.
In a nutshell, moving away from private ownership of vehicles and instead adopting smart and shared e-mobility solutions, will help India save oil equivalent of 876 million metric tons by 2030, which translates into USD 330 billion in cost-savings and saving the nation from carbon-dioxide emissions of 1 giga-tonne. The start-ups are taking affirmative actions in the space and are gradually receiving the backing the government officials as well. As the private and the public sector comes together, India’s future seems favourable predisposed towards electric and smart shared mobility.