World Environment Day: Rise of sustainable mobility a silver lining of corona-stricken times

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NEW DELHI: As we celebrate World Environment Day amid the pandemic, the dream of a cleaner and a greener future now seems more tangible than ever.
Thanks to restrictive vehicular and industrial activities, the lockdowns around the world have resulted in cleaner skies at least for now. The cleaner skies have now become a ‘new normal’ and several countries are now opting for the sustainable ecosystem to stay exactly the same post-Covid-19 shutdown.
India has already begun evaluating and enhancing the cycling infrastructure, to make a major shift from conventional methods of transportation to much more sustainable options.
As the nation gears up for a phased unlock, cycling communities across the nation have started promoting the use of bicycles post-lockdown. Bicycles do seem like a feasible commuting option as using public transports in such uncertain times.
In order to keep the pollution levels low and the ecosystem healthy, the government is likely to impose rigorous changes to its motoring habits too.
21 out of 30 World’s most polluted cities are from India, according to a report by The Weather Channel. This statistic alone puts an end to the debate between using electric vehicles or conventional engine vehicles. With a rapid rise in the usage of electric vehicles, India might soon see a reduction in its crude oil consumption and a heavy decline in vehicular emissions.
Rajan Wadhera, SIAM president, said “Indian Automobile Industry has made significant progress on the environmental front, both at an industry-level, and at the organisation-level. On this day, I assure you, that the Indian Automobile industry is committed to working closely with all stakeholders towards our vision of sustainable mobility in the country.”
India might not be the only country venturing towards reducing its carbon footprint. The European Union (EU) has already started working on reducing carbon emissions. EU’s executive Commission has come up with tougher norms to be followed by all the carmakers across Europe.
A large part of the EU’s coronavirus economic stimulus package is reserved for the switch to cleaner transport. Stricter rules and stronger commitment are going to help EU tread towards the goal of becoming ‘climate neutral’ by 2050.
With a steady rise in the electric vehicle usage across Europe, a few countries are trying to stay ahead in the race. Germany has taken a big step to encourage electric mobility by making charging stations mandatory in all petrol stations. France has made a similar blueprint to boost the sales of electric vehicles.
With major carmakers committing themselves to a sustainable future, there will definitely be a huge boost in customer demand for electric vehicles, not only in Europe, but across the globe.
Amidst a global slowdown in automobile sales, EV sales in Europe alone have seen a 72% rise, according to a report by Canalys. “Demand for EVs outstripped supply and there are long waiting lists and lead times for new high-profile EVs. Government incentives and trade-in schemes will mean substantial discounts on new EVs – all good news as dealerships reopen and the market picks itself up,” said Chris Jones, Chief Analyst for automobile sector, Canalys.
India with its own set of incentives under the FAME II (Faster Adoption and Manufacture of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles) scheme might see a rise in electric mobility adoption post the lockdown.



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