India's Electric Vehicle Push Is Riding on Mopeds and Rickshaws
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Following our work, Mahindra released an electric three-wheeled rickshaw, the e-Alfa Mini, which was the first of its kind in India. Designed to navigate tight urban streets while delivering cargo and helping India achieve its 100% electric vehicle vision, the e-Alfa provides an affordable solution to India’s unique logistics challenges. As a first mover, Mahindra now leads this new and growing category.
Mahindra’s embrace of electric three wheelers, and leadership of India in that category, has made this a huge success not only for the business but for India as well. See the impact of our work together being put into action, as this New York Times article describes.
By Emily Schmall and Jack Ewing Published in the New York Times September 4, 2022 The country's success with two- and three-wheeled vehicles that sell for as little as $1,000 could be a template for other developing countries.
In the United States, luxury-car buyers are snapping up Teslas and other electric cars that cost more than $60,000, and even relatively cheap models cost more than $25,000.
Here in India, those are all out of reach of the vast majority of families, whose median income is just $2,400. But an electric vehicle movement is taking place nonetheless, not on four wheels, but on two and three.
Electric mopeds and three-wheeled rickshaw taxis that sell for as little as $1,000 are zipping along India’s congested urban thoroughfares, cheered on by environmentalists and the government as a way to clear some of the oppressive smog. India’s success with the low-cost vehicles is also providing a template for how developing countries could ditch combustion engines and combat climate change without pricey electric cars.
Consider Kuldeep Singh. Twice a day, he replaces the depleted lithium-ion batteries in his sky-blue Piaggio electric rickshaw with fully charged ones at swapping stations around New Delhi.
“The best thing is there’s no pollution,” said Mr. Singh, who pays about half as much for fresh batteries as he would to fill the tank of a conventional rickshaw. “I feel proud and that India will become stronger.”