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Environmental Impact Of E-Rickshaws In Kolkata

Reimagine urban commute – With intelligent, clean cities becoming the way forward to save the planet and conserve the environment, the automobile industry is on the threshold of massive disruption. The impact of switching to electricity over fossil fuels is huge for densely populated and polluted cities where gas is getting dearer. The environmental impact of e-rickshaws in Kolkata is making it the preferred choice in the cities of tomorrow. Helping to lower emissions and reduce carbon footprint, this is a choice geared towards creating green and sustainable mobility.

Battery-operated electric vehicles (EVs)

These run entirely on electricity and eliminate exhaust or tailpipe emissions.  They also don’t use engine oils, have corrosion-free brake pads, and generally use eco-friendly materials. EV chargers, when powered by renewable energy sources, have less impact on the environment and its natural resources than traditional gas stations. No transportation is required to get the “fuel” to the chargers, unlike a gas station’s need to transport fuel.

How the environment is affected by vehicles across urban centres

Several studies have shown that vehicular pollution is one of the largest sources of pollution across major urban centres of the world including Indian metros such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata, where 60% of the air pollution is due to transport emissions. It is significant to note that EVs also do not contribute to noise pollution as they are relatively quiet. 

Other factors contributing to air pollution –  Other than transportation other factors causing environmental destruction include unregulated development of real estate and construction, open garbage incineration, and outdoor cooking on coal/ kerosene ovens etc. Forward-thinking Governments are working to incentivize policy changes to fight poor AQI. Incidentally, state government actions also include launching e-buses, regulating garbage disposal, and promoting the use of electric induction cooktops for outdoor cooking.

Kolkata, the second-most polluted city in the world – Kolkata is the second most polluted city in the world, second after Delhi. Mumbai ranks fourteenth on this report by HEI SoGA which determines this ranking based on the quantity of PM2.5 and Nitrogen Dioxide in the air and the population congestion.

Kolkata vs Delhi, the worse polluted city – On certain days in Winter 2022 (December 12 and 13, 2022), Kolkata’s AQI has been recorded as being worse than even Delhi, as a matter of fact. On both these days, AQI crossed 300, which puts the quality in the ‘hazardous’ bracket while Delhi had ‘unhealthy’ air on these dates. As per green technologist Somendra Mohan Ghosh, this finding is alarming because it shows Delhi on a reversal track while Kolkata seems to be on a destructive path with matters projected to worsen in the coming years. Immediate intervention is the need of the hour.

E-rickshaws in Kolkata, the green solution for commercial and passenger transportation –

Battery-operated E-rickshaws or totos are green solutions as compared to auto rickshaws. There are 40,000 auto rickshaws in Kolkata, slowly getting replaced by a growing number of e-rickshaws. They are innovative, fast, smooth, and aesthetic modes of passenger transport. They emit no exhaust or tailpipe fumes and are gaining popularity for their efficiency.

The environmental impact of EVs in Kolkata is temporary, not long-term – EVs, despite their definite pros, also have some negatives. EV battery production can cause a loss of biodiversity, air pollution, and decreased freshwater supply. EV batteries consist of materials like nickel, lithium, cobalt, and others, which are energy-intensive to mine. These minerals are also often mined in regions with a poor environmental record. 

In conclusion – Hence, the long-term solution lies in creating and preserving more green spaces even while efforts to switch completely from fossil fuels to CNG and EVs must accelerate. EVs are not a magic pill and there is no one way to have a positive environmental impact of e-rickshaws in Kolkata. Meanwhile, explore Kolkata’s most popular e-rickshaws manufactured and marketed worldwide by Big Bull e-rickshaws at

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