The Need for Sustainable Transportation In India

The Need for Sustainable Transportation In India

‘ACCELERATE‘ by EV2 Ventures is a multi-part article series on the smart mobility landscape in India. In the fourth edition, we outline our perspective on the collective efforts that need to assimilate in the mobility space to achieve India’s target of Net zero Emissions by 2070.

Replacing the conventional transportation system with a sustainable one needs a holistic approach and mandates serious efforts on the part of all relevant stakeholders in the mobility ecosystem.

The pressing issue of climate change has put the focus back on the need to have a sustainable transportation system. Worldwide, transportation accounts for 25% of total CO2 emissions with commuting by road contributing around 77% in this entire release of greenhouse gases. In India, road transport is the major medium of mobility with a 60% share in the entire commute and is responsible for 10% of the country’s total CO2 emissions(Source: TERI), making it the second most carbon emitting sector in the county. Clearly, with the ever-growing clamor to prevent climate change, India needs to make a switch to sustainable transportation that can not only reduce emission levels but also offer affordable, last-mile connectivity to its people.

OECD defines sustainable transportation on two major themes: a) public health and b) generation and substitution of renewable resources. It defines sustainable transportation as a system that won’t endanger public health and offers mobility by using renewable sources below the speed of their regeneration. The definition of sustainable transportation also takes into consideration the use of non-renewable sources by the transportation system at a rate lower than the pace at which renewable substitutes of fossil fuels are being developed.

India has the ambitious goal of reaching net-zero emission targets by 2070. Further, the country has committed to reducing its economic emissions by 45% by the year 2030 as compared to the emission levels in 2005. While there are many ways to push for sustainable transportation, here are key measures that can help India reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and make a transition to safer and greener modes of transportation:

Transition to Electric Vehicles (EVs): With their zero-tailpipe emissions, EVs are among the cleanest modes of transportation around. The Government of India has taken a host of measures to push the adoption of EVs through policy frameworks such as faster adoption and manufacturing of hybrid and electric vehicles (FAME II) scheme and a production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, among others. Further, under the EV30@2030 mission, the Government is aiming to achieve 30% EV sales in total sales of private cars by 2030 along with 80% EV share in 2W and 3W segments and 70% in case of the commercial vehicle segment. With these efforts, the country also needs to focus on decarbonizing electricity to reap real gains while shifting to EVs. The good news is that India’s installed electricity generation capacity from renewable resources totals 42%, according to the Ministry of Power, which means our excessive reliance on coal power plants is expected to come down going forward.

Strengthening Public Transport: The lack of a well-connected and efficient public transport system is also one of the major reasons behind the use of private vehicles. However, the country has made notable progress in the last decade with metro rails, cab aggregators, and bus rapid transit (BRT) corridors delivering affordable connectivity to the people. Not only have these efforts reduced emissions but they have also played a crucial role in decongesting roads by encouraging the use of public transport. Going forward, the government of India aims to strengthen the public transport system by inducting 8,000 electric buses by 2025.

Technology Integration: Like other fields, new-age technologies can play a crucial role in making transportation systems more efficient in delivering services to end users. Innovations in the fields of AI, ML, and automation can help in multi modal transport optimization, sharing drives, and offering real-time automated updates to commuters. Further, the use of data analytics can optimize routes and reduce excess fuel utilization.

Building Planned Infrastructure: To reduce emissions, new infrastructure projects can be guided in a manner that encourages efficient movements of people, goods, and vehicles within their defined perimeters. Aligned with the provision of the National Urban Transport Policy, 2014, developers could offer inbuilt provisions of flyovers, underpasses, and foot-over bridges to facilitate a safe, secure, and congestion-free transportation scenario. The Interoperability across infrastructure can be facilitated by encouraging the development of smart cities and a circular economy in the country.

Alternative Fuels: Auto players have been able to demonstrate flex-fuel engines capable of running on ethanol-blended fuel, a technology that can substantially reduce vehicular emissions. Further, in the recently concluded G20 summit in New Delhi, a Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA) was launched under the joint leadership of India, the USA, and Brazil to encourage the adoption of biofuel over fossil fuels. GBA aims to offer a global platform to help member nations accelerate technology development, exchange ideas and best practices, and make a conducive policy framework for enhancing the adoption of biofuel in the coming years.

The adoption of sustainable transportation can be looked upon as a part of the larger strategy that has the potential to be adopted by the world for building a sustainable future for the next generations. It’s based on the holistic viewpoint that considers 3Es – Environment, Economy, and Equity – as a premise for economic development. For successful integration and implementation of sustainable transportation in India, all stakeholders in the sector need to come together and put in concerted efforts, thus becoming instrumental in creating mutually beneficial partnerships across the mobility ecosystem.

The above views have also been published as an opinion article on Opportunity India

Contact Us: We welcome all friends of Ev2 Ventures to reach out for an open discussion and we are just an email away for any inquiries or clarifications – Email:

Agricultural Supply Chain: Will 2020 be a game changer?

Agricultural Supply Chain: Will 2020 be a game changer?

‘ACCELERATE‘ by EV2 Ventures is a multi-part article series on the smart mobility landscape in India. This is the second edition in which we analyze technology’s potential to transform the Indian agricultural supply chain.

The Gross value added by Indian agricultural and related industries is estimated to be ˜US$ 276 Bn in FY20 – accounting for ~15% of India’s GDP. This sector has been the key economic pillar for the country, with agriculture being the mainstay of livelihood for more than 60% of the Indian rural population, compared to 2% in USA and 10% in other Asian countries. Demand for agri-products has always been secular but the supply side is constrained with myriad challenges across every step of the value chain – pre-harvest, harvest and post-harvest.

40% lower yield per hectareDespite having the 2nd largest arable land in the world, India’s yield per hectare is still ~40% less than other Asian countries which is mainly caused by restricted access to quality seeds and fertilizers, small land holdings, limited mechanization and automation, lengthy supply chain with multiple middlemen between the farmer and the end consumer. The supply chain inefficiencies, combined with a lack of sufficient cold storage infrastructure, contribute to substantial wastage of agricultural products and perpetuate a lack of transparent and fair pricing. India’s post-harvest losses, in the fruits & vegetable category alone, amount to US$ 20 billion per annum.

New age entrepreneurs are bringing technological innovation to the sector in an attempt to address these challenges and unlock value across the supply chain. The agri start-up ecosystem in India is mushrooming with 450+ start-ups that are currently operational, and over 50% focused on making the supply chain more efficient. Investors are increasingly showing interest in the space and according to a recent report on agritech, the segment attracted venture investments to the tune of ~US$ 250 million in 2019 and is estimated to grow to US$ 500 million over the next 2 years.

Indian farmers in aggregate incur ~US$ 13 billion per year in post-harvest losses (spoilage of produce on the farm), primary causes of which are poor storage facilities and expensive and Farmer's take homeunreliable transportation. Further, the take home earning percentage of Indian farmers is very low accounting for only 15- 20% of the end consumer selling price. In developed countries, the take home percentage is multiple times higher at approximately 70-80%. Improving market linkages – at pre-harvest stage (i.e. by creating access to quality fertilizers, seeds, equipment etc.) and post-harvest stage (by establishing seamless conections with marketplaces, retailers etc.) will have a substantial impact on the value chain. A number of start-ups, including BigHaat, Gramophone, Freshokartz, Agrostar are providing access to quality inputs to farmers while players such as Ninjacart, Crofarm, Waycool etc. are connecting farmers with buyers. Such solutions are providing demand discovery and transparent pricing in addition to improved crop yield.  Combined demand discovery and increased crop yield can increase farmer income by ~50%. Over time, as farmers witness tangible outcomes from using modern technologies adapted to the agricultural sector, we expect to see increased adoption of such innovative models, which should help to streamline the entire industries supply chain process.

Farmer's Produce Earning CycleSeparately, developing adequate storage infrastructure is also vital for reducing post-harvest losses, and maintaining long term agri supply chain efficiency. India’s agri-storage capacity is estimated at ~162 million metric tonnes out of which cold chain capacity is ~30-35 million metric tonnes – with more than 50% of cold chain facilities consisting of single commodity storages (mainly potato) with dated technology systems. Upcoming players such as Ecozen are attempting to address this by offering portable cold rooms on lease, thereby, assisting with on-farm cooling at an affordable cost.

Further, Precision farming techniques, enabled by IoT and AI, collect farm data to provide predictive insights and enhance decision-making in real time. Players like CropIn, Fasal, and Aibono are offering a wide variety of solutions using analytics, sensors and vision-based systems. However, farmer’s willingness to adopt & pay for these technologies could be a constraint initially as there are basic technology applications that can have substantial impact on crop yields and farmer incomes. Training combined with, affordable financing models, such as subscription and rent based models, may pave the way to encourage wide-spread adoption of technologies at reduced upfront costs.

New players are utilizing novel technologies to plug numerous inefficiencies plaguing the sector; however, multiple factors are hindering adoption. At the outset, changing farmer perception is crucial. Businesses need to invest in building strong on-ground community networks on both demand and supply side, in order to ensure sustainable traction. This sales process is time consuming due to rural infrastructure, and the number of small farmers involved in the sector.

Several global players are beginning to realize the potential of the Indian agricultural market and are engaging with startups to help them expand their reach. Early this year, Microsoft launched a program for agritech startups to support them with technology, business & marketing tools. Similarly, Bayer partnered with Agribazaar to assist farmers with technology transfers and advisory services.

The current pandemic, like never before, has exposed the gaps in our current system and tested the functionality of existing business models.  The pandemic lockdown resulted in abandoned harvest & waste of foods due to lack of proper supply chain, agri related advisory & poor storage/warehousing facilities in the economy. The crisis caused both demand & supply side bottlenecks & impacted the life of a large number of agri farmers & traders.

Keeping the above in mind a few startups have stepped up to redesign the farming ecosystem with the focus to eliminate the multi-step middle-men distribution system, the inefficiencies of which eat most of the farmer’s income. This include, Hydroponic (soil less) farming, smart/robotics farming using IOT/AI/ML based technology & Digitizing the supply chain network to curb any kind of unfair selling of the farm produce.

We believe that this is the right time for startups to seize the opportunity in this sector and focus on providing sophisticated solutions that can help in building an integrated, resilient supply chains & smart farming ecosystem for a self-reliant future.

Contact Us: We welcome all friends of Ev2 Ventures to reach out for an open discussion and we are just an email away for any inquiries or clarifications – Email:

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