Battery Rickshaws in New Delhi: Socio-Economics and Environmental Impact

In the past four years, the number of battery-powered rickshaws in New Delhi has grown from a few dozen to around 100,000. These vehicles have zero-emissions, play an important role in the urban transport system and provide employment opportunities for low-income groups. However, they are not covered by existing transport regulations and there is currently debate amongst local and national policymakers, the judiciary, operators and civil society as to how to regulate them. There is, however, little information on which to base regulatory decisions and little is known about the level of regulation operators can bear. This study aims to fill this lacuna by providing the first systematic survey of operators, their vehicles, their operations and their costs and revenues. It will also assess the environmental impact of battery rickshaws by investigating the recycling processes and value-chains in the informal recycling sector for the lead-acid batteries which power them. It will then make policy recommendations regarding appropriate regulation and environmental impacts.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Milind Kandlikar


Simon Harding



Resources and environmental management



University of British Columbia


Globalink Research Award

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