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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Pathways for Electrification of South Asia’s Transportation Sector


In this policy brief, we summarize insights from recent studies on decarbonization pathways for the transportation sector in South Asia, particularly India. Lithium-ion battery prices have declined sharply over the last ten years. Therefore, in the short-to-medium term, battery-electric drivetrains are a cost effective alternative to petrol and diesel combustion engines. Electrification of transport would have immense environmental benefits for South Asia, which is home to 42 out of the top 50 world's most polluted cities. Given that oil consumption in India is dominated by heavy-duty-vehicles (HDVs), we focus on techno-economics of trucks and buses, along with high-mileage commercial vehicles such as app-based taxi services. We conclude that truck, intra-city and inter-city buses are already cheaper on the basis of total cost of ownership (TCO) over the lifetime of the vehicle. We describe the current policy scenario, challenges and outline recommendations for accelerating deployment of electric vehicles.

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