Air pollution is a serious problem in Indian cities, with the transportation sector being a major contributor. Among the most ubiquitous modes of transportation in India are auto-rickshaws, which are commonly used for short trips and daily commutes. Unfortunately, traditional auto-rickshaws are powered by fossil fuels and emit pollutants that contribute to air pollution and poor air quality. However, with the increasing availability of electric auto-rickshaws, there is hope for reducing air pollution and improving public health outcomes in Indian cities.

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A research on the pollution created by vehicles was published in April 2018 by the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). According to this publication, the fleet of  traditional autos operating in the Bangalore city emits about 4 tonnes of NOx, 1200 tonnes of carbon dioxide per day, and 0.5 tonnes of PM10, for a total of 0.44 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. Carbon emissions may be decreased by 0.11 million tonnes year, PM10 emissions by 114.5 million tonnes annually, and NOx emissions by 37.6 million tonnes annually by converting to electric vehicles.

What is the Role of E-Rickshaws are Reducing Air Pollution in Indian Cities?

In this blog, we will explore the role of electric auto-rickshaws in reducing air pollution in India and the benefits they offer for both the environment and the economy.

Air Pollution Reduction

While recognising the need to "tackle the burgeoning problem of air pollution," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman allotted Rs 2,217 crore for 42 metropolitan areas with a population of more than a million. As you may remember, the last budget gave Rs 4,400 crore to urban local bodies in 42 million+ cities in response to the 15th Finance Commission's recommendations.

E-rickshaws aid in reducing noise and air pollution. If compressed natural gas autos are replaced with e-rickshaws, at least 1,036.6 tonnes of CO2 emissions per day (378,357 tonnes CO2 yearly) may be reduced.

Noise Pollution Reduction 

Traditional auto-rickshaws are often associated with high levels of noise pollution, which can be a nuisance to both passengers and pedestrians. In contrast, electric auto-rickshaws produce far less noise pollution, making them a more comfortable and pleasant mode of transportation for everyone. This is especially important in urban areas where noise pollution can be a significant issue.

Sustainable and Eco-Friendly 

Electric auto-rickshaws are powered by electricity, which can be generated from renewable sources such as solar and wind. This makes them a sustainable and eco-friendly mode of transportation that aligns with India's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning towards a cleaner and greener future. In addition, the use of electric vehicles can help reduce other forms of pollution, such as noise pollution and water pollution.

Reduced Dependence on Fossil Fuels

By transitioning towards electric vehicles, India can reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, which are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. This can have a significant impact on the environment and public health outcomes. In addition, the use of electric vehicles can help reduce India's reliance on imported fossil fuels, increasing energy security and contributing to the development of domestic renewable energy sources.


According to reports, the number of e-autos, which were originally launched in Delhi in 2010, reached over 100,000 by 2016 and had gradually extended to other regions of north India. However, due to their general lack of regulation, charging stations also raised safety concerns and accident reports.

The Kochi Metro Rail Limited and a private firm inked a contract on October 20th to introduce e-autorickshaws, which was also endorsed by the city's auto unions. Contrarily, the four applications — Metro Bike, Quick Ride, Tap Route, and Consta Park — that the BMRCL introduced last year in two stations (Byappanahalli and Swami Vivekananda) were all about fossil fuel-run solutions that increase pollution.  While electric vehicles and autorickshaws don't emit any emissions. 

Comparison of E-AutoRickshaw vs. Traditional AutoRickshaw

This table provides a more detailed comparison of electric and traditional auto-rickshaws in terms of various factors, including emissions, fuel efficiency, operating costs, maintenance, safety, public health, and economic impact.


Electric Auto-Rickshaws

Traditional Auto-Rickshaws


Zero tailpipe emissions

High levels of tailpipe emissions

Noise pollution

Produce less noise pollution

Produce high levels of noise pollution

Public health

Improves air quality and reduces respiratory illnesses

Contributes to air pollution and respiratory illnesses

Economic impact

Creates jobs in the renewable energy sector and reduces fuel imports

Limited economic benefits due to high fuel costs and low efficiency


Overall, the adoption of electric auto-rickshaws has the potential to bring about significant environmental, social, and economic benefits for India. With supportive policies, incentives, and public awareness campaigns, we can expect to see a significant increase in the number of electric auto-rickshaws on the roads in the coming years, leading to cleaner air, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and improved public health outcomes.

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