Climate Technology Centre & Network Progress Report 2020


E-mobility offers a fast track to cleaner skies and more sustainable transport. Over the past year, cities around the world experienced a vision of what the future of transport could look like, as the COVID-19 pandemic led to less traffic, fewer emissions, and cleaner skies.

According to the International Energy Agency, combined forms of transport currently account for an estimated 24% of global energy-related CO2 emissions. This level could grow significantly by 2050, when the number of vehicles on the road is projected to double to 2.5 billion globally. Much of this growth is expected to take place in developing countries where air pollution and traffic jams are already posing significant challenges in many cities.

Over the past year, a number of countries have requested CTCN technical assistance in order to initiate a transformation to e-mobility. In Africa, the development of national policies and frameworks for deploying and eventually scaling up e-mobility is a priority for countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe. In Asia-Pacific, the CTCN is collaborating with several governments to test and deploy e-mobility. Some countries, such as Indonesia and Sri Lanka, are potential frontier markets for e-mobility demonstration that can cater to the mobility needs of urban populations. Others are least developed countries and small island states like Cambodia, Nauru, Tonga, and Vanuatu, who seek to conduct feasibility studies, develop roadmaps, and analyse financing and policy options to guide their transition to e-mobility and reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

E-mobility offers a pathway to lower-emission transport, and includes fully electric, conventional hybrid, plug-in hybrid as well as hydrogen-fuelled vehicles. Rapid advancements in e-mobility use are due to technological advancements in lithium-ion batteries, but also to growing public demand for more environmentally friendly transport options, as well as countries’ climate change commitments and policies requiring greater fuel efficiency and/or electric vehicle incentives.

Moreover, by supporting charging infrastructure, e-mobility offers a decentralized and controllable electricity supply and potential storage capacity to complement the energy mix in the grid with an increased share of clean and intermittent sources. Electric transport can also lead to improved health and environmental outcomes due to reductions in pollution and urban traffic.

While much attention is given to electric cars, many countries see a potential for more substantial transformation by harnessing the capability of e-mobility for public transport, as well as commercial vehicles, including a growing variety of light to heavy duty trucks. Demand for electric mobility is thus accelerating in developing countries as it offers a transition away from fossil fuels, an opportunity to leapfrog public transport technologies, and a means to promote the electrification of economies. However, there is also a strong recognition that uptake of e-mobility must be supported by effective policies, regulations, infrastructure, and financing.