What Cities Can Learn from Pune’s EV Readiness Plan
India’s urban mobility needs are expanding with accelerated urbanisation and growing population. The transport sector is responsible for 13.5 per cent of the country’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions and contributes to traffic congestion, and worsening local air pollution that impacts public health.
Transitioning to clean mobility is among the urgent priorities for Indian cities today. Pune has emerged as a leader in facilitating accelerated electric vehicle (EV) adoption. Recently, more than 1 in 10 vehicles registered in Pune is an EV — more than double the national average. Other cities in India and globally can learn a lot from Pune’s actions.
Pune’s EV cell and city EV readiness plan
In 2021, the Pune Municipal Corporation took an ambitious step towards boosting EV adoption by constituting a city EV cell — a centralised, structured governance body for facilitating EV ecosystem-related developments. It is a first-of-its-kind initiative by a local government in the country.
In April 2022, Pune’s EV cell, with technical support from RMI and RMI India, published India’s first City EV Readiness Plan. According to the plan, an EV-ready city creates a favourable ecosystem for seamless mass adoption of EVs by all consumers and users (i.e., residents, institutions, and businesses). Exhibit 1 outlines the core components of an EV-ready city including a defined governance structure; alignment with state EV policy; a robust charging and upstream infrastructure network; an efficient system of sales, financing, after-sales, and end-of-life management; and skill development and awareness programs.
Exhibit 1: Components of an EV-ready city
The Pune City EV Readiness Plan is a set of targets and nearly 10 city-level initiatives that the public and private sectors will undertake to realise the components of an EV-ready city in the near term. To achieve Pune’s targets, the City EV Readiness Plan outlines a set of nine solutions anchored in four focus areas: EV charging and battery swapping infrastructure, easing EV operations, policies and regulations, and awareness programs. These solutions are based on stakeholder consultations and convenings, as well as learnings from national and international best practices. Let’s dive in to five elements of Pune’s EV Readiness Plan.
1. City-Specific EV Adoption Targets
The plan requires preliminary EV adoption targets for 2025 that exceed those outlined in the 2021 Maharashtra EV Policy. City-specific EV adoption targets are crucial as they set ambitious goals, generate commitment and enthusiasm at the local level, and serve as inspiration for the ecosystem. Pune aims for EVs to make up 25 per cent of all new vehicle registrations by 2025 across all vehicle segments. EV penetration for specific vehicle segments range from 35 per cent for two-wheelers to 10 per cent for four-wheelers.
Achieving this target can avoid 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 emissions over the lifetime of the deployed vehicles.
2. EV Charging and Battery-Swapping Infrastructure: A robust charging and battery-swapping infrastructure network is critical for achieving Pune’s ambitious target of 25 per cent of all new registrations to be EVs by 2025. As part of the plan, Pune will formulate a charging infrastructure roadmap along with promoting single window clearance for the deployment of charging and battery-swapping stations. Additionally, Pune aims to map areas that may require upgraded transformers, distribution lines, and other infrastructure, as well as a plan and schedule for making such investments. These actions will ease the charging infrastructure installations, alleviate range anxiety, and provide access to affordable charging and equitable distribution of charging facilities to a large portion of population.
3. Easing EV Operation: At the city level, Pune attempts to ease EV operations through two focused actions: promotion of electric first- and last-mile connectivity and delivery services and creation of low-emission zones (LEZs). Pune EV cell, with support from Pune Regional Transport Office, will encourage fleet aggregators to deploy electric two- and three-wheelers and formalise the commercial registration of these vehicles. Further, aligned to the Maharashtra state EV policy, the plan advocates creation of LEZs where higher-emission vehicles are restricted from entering or are charged a fee to enter, while pedestrians, cyclists, low-emission vehicles, and vehicles meeting other criteria (e.g., shared mobility) are free to . The objective of the LEZ is to improve air quality in Pune by reducing the number of older and less fuel-efficient vehicles that enter the zone. London’s ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) initiative resulted in 44,100 fewer polluting vehicles entering the ULEZ every day, reducing roadside NO2 pollution by 44 per cent in first 10 months of implementation.
4. Policies and Regulations: Globally, policies and regulations have been crucial in shaping the EV transition. Through the EV readiness plan, Pune aims to strengthen the nascent electric vehicle retrofit ecosystem by offering a low-cost solution to convert internal combustion engine vehicles to EVs. It will also deploy preferential parking regulations to promote EV adoption by providing greater access and affordability to EV users. This can be done through amendments in building bylaws to mandate the provision of EV-ready parking spaces and providing concessional parking rates for EVs in the near future.
5. Awareness Programs: Despite several policies and schemes, potential vehicle buyers have concerns regarding disbursement of fiscal incentives, cost and standards of charging, range anxiety, and much more. These concerns can be addressed through awareness programs along with disseminating information on various national, sub-national and local initiatives. The readiness plan will facilitate the creation of an EV dashboard, which will serve as a one stop destination to provide all the information related to the adoption of electric vehicles in Pune. It will also have a grievance redressal mechanism, that will enable contacting the city EV cell through email for complaint and concerns related to electric mobility. The first version of the EV dashboard was launched in April 2022.
Through its City EV Readiness Plan, Pune has already embarked on building a strong foundation for electric mobility adoption. By offering a framework, solution set, and concrete steps to help make a city EV ready, the city of Pune hopes that India’s first-ever City EV Readiness Plan can serve as inspiration for other cities in India and around the world — and thereby accelerate EV adoption and transport decarbonisation in Pune and beyond.