Prioritise Electrification of Smaller Vehicle Segment: Report

The report brings insights and opinions from the country’s first multimodal e-mobility initiative, titled ‘Beyond Nagpur: The Promise of Electric Mobility’.

A new report by the Ola Mobility Institute, a policy research and social innovation think-tank, offers insights from the shared mobility providers extensive electric vehicle operations in Nagpur to help devise business models, provide data to inform policy and encourage guidelines that will expedite the national effort to adopt electric mobility.

The study primarily focused on experimenting with various scenarios that would test the viability of EVs on economic metrics. One such essential metric, the Total Cost of Ownership or TCO, includes the direct and indirect costs of purchasing, running and maintaining a commercial vehicle over its typical lifetime of four years, making it a key driver to proliferate EVs on Indian roads towards realising the e-mobility ambitions as a nation.

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Anand Shah, Senior Vice President and Head of Ola Mobility Institute (OMI), said, “The Nagpur pilot was designed to provide the first-hand experience to inform a viable business model for electric vehicles at scale. We are convinced that the growing base of renewable energy combined with sound policy measures to promote high utilisation of electric vehicles can make India an exemplar for market-based electric vehicle ecosystem.”

Key Findings:

Early success in e-mobility should leverage shared mobility – Due to the low operating cost of an Electric Vehicle, high-mileage commercial owners are natural early adopters, given the economic incentive over the on-road life of internal combustion alternatives.

Two and three-wheeler segments will enable unique deployment models – Small vehicles dominate Indian roads, so any attempt at electrification of the country’s vehicle fleet must address the two and three-wheeler segments. Additionally, insights from the report suggest that TCO parity for four-wheelers is still years away, and hence other segments should be prioritised for electrification.

Shared, public and commercial transport deliver a disproportionate share of Vehicle Kilometers Traveled – Public and commercial transport electric vehicles are better poised to bring down the total cost of ownership as opposed to an EV being used as a personal vehicle.

Incentivising usage more than the purchase of vehicles – Usage-based incentives on electric vehicles will accelerate innovation, encourage early adopters, enable new business models, and promote low-cost shared mobility services.

The report revealed that there was significant operational pressure on charging stations during peak periods, suggesting utilisation challenges for infrastructure. The pilot program also showed for small format vehicles, lithium-ion battery swapping increased the available operating time for three wheelers by 25% compared to fixed battery systems, and by 50% when compared to lead-acid battery powered alternatives.

Additionally, the report also presents data to encourage the usage of renewable energy to power EV infrastructure. For instance, installing rooftop solar panels on Nagpur charging stations reduced the average electricity expense of the platform by 28%.

Ola’s pilot e-mobility initiative in Nagpur saw a combination of e-rickshaws and e-cabs serving over 3,50,000 customers, clocking over 7.5 million km, saving over 5.7 lakh litres of fossil fuel, and reducing CO2 emission by over 1,230 tons since its inception.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush is a correspondent at and writes on renewable energy and sustainability. As an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he also works as a staff writer for

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