Why does Electric Mobility matter?

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution through electric mobility

UN Environment’s Electric Mobility Programme supports countries, with a special focus on emerging economies, in introducing electric mobility. The Programme will be a major contribution to UN Environment’s work on air quality, in specific the UN Environment Assembly’s Air Quality Resolution and the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement[DR1] .

Today transport contributes approximately one quarter of all energy related carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere, which is set to reach one-third, growing faster than any other sector. The global passenger car fleet is projected to double by 2050, with the majority of growth taking place in developing markets, where an estimated three out of four cars will be found. Yet, while developing countries have the fastest growing fleets, most have no vehicle emissions standards, programmes and incentives in place to promote zero emission vehicles.

To achieve a cleaner transport sector, a combination of measures needs to be implemented world-wide: better-designed cities; non-motorized transport facilities; more public transport; and cleaner and more efficient on-road fleets, including electric vehicles.

Some countries have put in place policies to support the use of electric vehicles. For example, through a comprehensive set of fiscal and non-fiscal measures, one out of four cars sold in Norway today is electric; while in China a national two and three wheelers strategy that started ten years ago has now resulted in electric two and three wheelers having all but replaced petrol motorbikes in its major cities – with 230 million electric bikes in use to date. Such practices need to be scaled up and replicated around the world to achieve the desired impact.

The window of opportunity is small. It can take as much as 20 years to turn over a country’s vehicle fleet. As the big boom in car numbers in developing countries is still ahead we have to make steps to ensure we leapfrog to low emission technology and avoid a massive increase in emissions.

The Electric Mobility Programme is currently the only global programme that supports electric mobility for developing and transitional countries. As of today, UN Environment is supporting over 50 countries and cities to introduce electric buses, cars and two and three wheelers:

  • 2&3 wheelers: UN Environment is supporting eight countries to develop national roadmaps and conduct pilots for the introduction of electric two and three wheelers in Africa and Southeast Asia.
  • Light Duty Vehicles: UN Environment is currently supporting fiftycountries in developing fiscal and regulatory policies and programmes to promote efficient vehicles including electric cars.
  • Buses: UN Environment, along with partners, developed a clean bus fleet programme providing support to twenty cities in Asia, Latin America and Africa to prepare roadmaps for low emission public transport, including the introduction of electric buses.

The UN Environments Electric Mobility program will involve all stakeholders leading global agencies in the field of electric mobility through partnerships. Click to view the Electric Mobility Partnerships