Air quality, health, and equity impacts of vehicle electrification in India

Tapas Peshin, Shayak Sengupta, Sumil K. Thakrar, Kirat Singh, Jason Hill, Joshua S. Apte, Christopher W. Tessum, Julian D. Marshall, Inês M.L. Azevedo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ambient air pollution in India accounts for 870 000 deaths per year, including 43 000 from road transportation. Vehicle electrification could posit a sustainable solution. However, 3/4th of India’s electric grid is powered by coal, emitting large amounts of PM2.5, SO2, and NO x . This leads to uncertainty regarding the health benefits and distributional consequences from vehicle electrification. Our results show that if electric vehicles made up 30% of vehicle kilometers traveled, there would be 1000-2000 additional deaths each year under present day conditions. Higher increases in pollution exposure are seen in scheduled castes/tribes, poor, and rural populations particularly in high coal production states. Switching to net zero-emitting electricity generation for charging would reduce air pollution attributable deaths by 6000-7000 annually and PM2.5 exposure across all groups of population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number024015
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.


  • India
  • air pollution
  • emissions
  • environmental justice
  • health impacts
  • transportation


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