Image: Gaurav Mittal 2024

Political Economy of Electric Mobility Transitions in Informal Transport in the Global South


The world is facing a climate emergency due to global warming induced by human activities. It is predicted that continuing our established ways of living would lead to irreversible damage to the earth's ecosystems. Transport contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, leading to global warming. Many scientists believe that switching to electric vehicles would produce fewer greenhouse gases. However, it is not a simple process of technology substitution - especially so in low- and middle-income countries, which are generally known as the Global South. In most of these countries, medium-sized cities are often served by public transport vehicles operated by self-regulated groups of individuals often classified as informal transport. Changing the transport technology (from non-electric to electric vehicles) within these arrangements is a complicated process that requires negotiations between several people, organisations, and institutions. 

This project attempts to understand how the negotiation processes for low-carbon mobility transitions in informal transport are unfolding in three medium-sized cities: Amritsar, Cebu City, and Gqeberha, located in India, the Philippines, and South Africa, respectively. More specifically, the project seeks to understand what technological knowledges inform government policies towards electric mobility transitions in the informal transport sector in different locations. What role do the various social actors and economic institutions play in shaping these policies? How do these policies account (or not) for the different and multiple local knowledges? And how efficacious are they in reducing greenhouse gas emissions? By answering these questions, the project will help identify good policy practices for electric mobility transitions in medium-sized cities in the Global South. 

The project will deliver a knowledge exchange network of researchers working on similar issues, two academic publications, and a subsequent larger research grant application on policy-making to reduce carbon emissions from the informal transport sector to an external funder.

In brief


2024 - 2025


John Fell Fund

Principal Investigator

Dr Gaurav Mittal


Dr Gaurav Mittal