Sustainable Mobility And The Road Ahead In India

Srinjoy Bal
05 Jun 2023
08:13 PM
2 Min Read

SIAM event has experts brainstorming on the challenges ahead where it is amply clear that one technology cannot be the answer to this difficult task.


Awareness and participation hold the key to carbon net neutrality, said Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India in Delhi on Monday.

He was addressing a gathering at the international conference on Imperatives of Sustainable Mobility: Towards Vision India @ 2047, organised by SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers). According to Choubey, with the current pace in mobility solutions, India can reach the carbon net neutrality target before 2070.

Dr Hanif Qureshi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Heavy Industries, said the race to sustainability mobility cannot be completed by relying on any one single technology. While achieving green mobility is a challenging task, addition of new technology and coordination among stakeholders can help achieve carbon neutrality by 2070.

Dr Reji Mathai, Director, ARAI, pointed out that affordability and availability  were critical to clean fuel solutions. According to him, carbon credits would help in quicker adoption of cleaner fuel technology.

Balraj Bhanot, Former Director, ARAI, Former Chairman, CMVR TSC & TEDC BIS, (Retd) Deputy Director General Ministry of Heavy Industries, said a clear narrative was needed from all stakeholders in the march towards sustainable mobility.

New Ways To Travel

He added that the public needed to get rid of old habits and find new ways to travel like greater use of public transport and shared mobility. In Bhanot’s view, it was also important to look at the concept of compact cities to discourage needless movement of people.

SIAM, meanwhile, announced its six-pillar approach to sustainability mobility through initiatives such as ‘Safe Journey’, ‘Bio-Initiative’, ‘Electrification’, ‘Circularity’, ‘Hydrogen Mobility’ and ‘Gas based Mobility’. Sudhendu J Sinha, Advisor (Infrastructure Connectivity - Transport and Electric Mobility), Niti Aayog, said India had seen 114 initiatives on suitability mobility since 2019 with the six-pillar approach from SIAM being the latest.

In ‘Safe Journey’, SIAM aims to focus on minimising accidents and injuries while complying with national and international goals of road safety. As for ‘Bio-Initiative’, it will strive to push for uptake of biofuels or ethanol.

SIAM believes that alternative fuels can be used to power vehicles and reduce reliance on petroleum. They will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve ‘Panchamrit’ targets of the decarbonisation committee articulated at COP 26 in Glasgow 2021.

Brazil Experience

Eduardo Uziel, Chargé d' Affaires, Embassy of Brazil, said Brazil had long been in favour of biofuels. Along with bioenergy as the main contributors, 45% of Brazil’s energy needs are met by renewable sources. Further, with 85% of mobility happening using biofuels, 50% of pollution is kept in check, said Uziel.

Dr S S V Ramakumar, Director, Indian Oil Corporation, said India would need around 1000 litres of ethanol by 2025 and, therefore, look at alternative sources of ethanol generation.

P S Ravi, Executive Director, Bharat Petroleum Corporation, added that around 75% of ethanol needs are met from using sugarcane as raw material while the balance is produced using grain based ethanol. Use of ethanol will not only help reduce carbon emissions but also cut oil imports.

On the subject of electrification, electric vehicles clearly depend on countries producing cells. Experts at the event said it was important to look at locally sourcing components for which the PLI scheme would be a good enabler.

As for hydrogen, India is expected to become a key green hydrogen hub by the end of the decade. Ramakumar said IOC had already set up its first hydrogen dispenser at its R&D centre in Delhi with the second due to come up in Gujarat soon.

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