With an arsenal of 1.5 mn e-rickshaws, India leaves China far behind

An electric-vehicle revolution is gaining ground in India, and it has nothing to do with cars. The South Asian nation is home to about 1.5 million battery-powered, three-wheeled rickshaws – a fleet bigger than the total number of electric passenger cars sold in China since 2011. But while the world’s largest auto market dangled significant subsidies to encourage purchases of battery-powered cars India’s e-movement hardly got a hand from the state. As many as 11,000 new e-rickshaws hit the streets every month and annual sales are expected to increase about 9 per cent by 2021, according to Rahul Mishra. India’s dominant ride-hailing startup, Ola, plans to place 10,000 e-ricks in its service by next April. India is the world’s fourth-largest auto market but previous attempts to boost private electric-car ownership flopped. Unlike the estimated 1.35 million passenger EVs cruising around China, the number of electric cars plying Indian roads is a paltry 6,000, according to BNEF data. Chinese automakers sell more than that in three days.

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