India is making headlines with its goals for sustainability as it looks to battery-operated vehicles. Recently, the country has made strides to match their part of the Paris Climate Agreement by converting rickshaws from using gasoline to rechargeable batteries.
One of the major problems the country faces is their air pollution, which in 2017 killed nearly 1.2 million people. The government hopes that with the implementation of their three-year scheme to subsidize electric vehicles, India’s air quality can be improved.
India has a unique problem in that most modes of transportation do not utilize cars. Unlike Europe and the United States, Indian residents utilize rickshaws, motorcycles, and buses to get around from place to place. Electric vehicles such as Tesla’s Model 3 are nowhere near affordable for the majority of residents.
To compromise, Chetan Maini, co-founder of SUN mobility, remarks, “When you separate the batteries, its cost [is] neutral in the immediate term and cheaper in the mid to long term.” SUN mobility plans to provide its batteries and charging services to bus, rickshaw, and other vehicle manufacturers.
How Battery Swapping Works
Electric vehicle owners make regular stops at charging stations where the battery swapping process occurs. Rickshaw driver Pankaj Kumar explains how he swaps batteries by replacing the used-up batteries that are located beside the driver’s seat with charged batteries located in one of the lockers in the station. Each battery is five inches wide by one foot long, weighing about 26 pounds. There are two such batteries that need to be replaced for the rickshaw.
How is It Helping the Environment?
With the conversion to battery-operated vehicles, India will soon be seeing big improvements to the air quality. In fact, transportation accounts for nearly 15% of India’s greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, as more people make the switch to electric vehicles, paying for gas will become a thing of the past.
Taking steps to transform its auto industry, India is starting to make a name for itself in curbing climate change.
Surya is a writer for the Transportation section at The Rising and a Computer Science student at UC Santa Cruz.