A majority of Indians have increased efforts to adopt a more sustainable way o living, with an increased preference for sustainable mobility, according to a survey by Lithium Urban Technologies.

The corporate sustainable mobility solutions provider conducted a survey among the corporate community in India with the aim to assess their preference for sustainable mobility and electric vehicles in light of the pandemic.

As per the report, 69 per cent of respondents feel that they have increased their efforts to adopt a more sustainable way of living since the onset of the pandemic.

Turning to sustainable mobility, 80 per cent of respondents are willing to purchase an electric vehicle. The top reasons to do so include cost-saving and environmental sustainability.

However, for 20 per cent of respondents who do not wish to purchase an electric vehicle, the lack of proper supporting infrastructure in India, particularly in the form of charging stations is the primary reason for the same.

Mumbai saw the sharpest rise in efforts to adopt a sustainable way of living amid the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the report, 85 per cent of respondents from Mumbai claiming to have shifted towards a sustainable lifestyle. There has also been a significant decline in Mumbaikars using public transport, from 58 per cent to 31 per cent, since the outbreak.

“This change in behaviour has instead contributed to them opting for private carpooling services or self-booked shared vehicles, from 19 per cent to 35 per cent,” the report said.

Apart from Mumbai, respondents in Bangalore (68 per cent) had a higher claim towards living a more sustainable lifestyle, compared to those residing in Delhi (62 per cent) and Chennai (50 per cent), it said.

How people commute

The pandemic has also led to significant changes in how people commute. Compared to 44 per cent of respondents using public transport and 36 per cent using their own vehicle to commute to and from work prior to the pandemic, only 15 per cent said that they were willing to use public transport and 65 per cent willing to use their own vehicle in the post-pandemic world.

“A significant change is seen among Gen Z respondents with only 50 per cent of them sticking to public transport as compared to the pre-COVID era,” as per the report.

City-wise, Delhi had the highest number of respondents who wished to use their own vehicle, amounting to 75 per cent.

Respondents also observed the impact of the lockdown on pollution levels. 80 per cent of respondents said that they observed a drastic dip in pollution levels during the lockdown while 52 per cent said that they realised that most travel was unnecessary “as their work carried on without any disruption.”

“Though most of the respondents had an improved outlook towards sustainability, 41 per cent of respondents stressed upon the fact that there is a need to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle going forward,” the report said.

Companies’ policies on sustainable mobility

When asked about their companies’ policies on sustainability, 55 per cent of respondents said that their company has sustainability-related goals, while 19 per cent of respondents were not aware of their organisation's commitment to sustainability.

Only 17 per cent of respondents said that their office provides an option for sustainable mobility. Bangalore led the way with respondents witnessing the highest provision of sustainable mobility by offices, much higher than the national average.

“The insights also stress upon the fact that there is a willingness from the respondents to shift towards sustainable mobility solutions as a whopping 88 per cent believe they would be more likely to opt for office transportation if it were in an electric vehicle format,” as per the report.

In Mumbai, 100 per cent of the city’s respondents were interested in opting for office transportation if it were in the form of an electric vehicle. Furthermore, 85 per cent of the respondents were willing to opt for an electric vehicle as their next purchase based on price parity, The biggest driving factor for the choice as cited by the respondents was cost savings.

Sanjay Krishnan, Founder, Lithium Urban Technologies said, “It is safe to conclude that sustainability has hit the mainstream with a clear behavioural change seen in a corporate consumer since the onset of the pandemic and the lockdown.”

“The insights from this survey are indicative of the fact that the younger generation will be the key stakeholders in influencing the general sentiments among their peers and older generations towards sustainable mobility as a long-term solution and investment. Moreover, an increased interest towards the adoption of EVs clearly implies that pandemic has strengthened the belief of being environmentally conscious while keeping in mind cost-effectiveness,” added Krishnan.

The survey is based on responses from over 3500 respondents from seven cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, Jaipur, and Hyderabad.