Green Mobility and Covid Heroes: GIZ supports autorickshaw society in Kochi


Autorickshaws are vital for mobility in India. During the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic they figured in medical provision: in the city of Kochi, autorickshaws delivered supplies to COVID-19 patients and made hospital transfers.

Autorickshaws (three-wheeler passenger vehicles) play a vital role in providing first and last mile connectivity in India. They serve as feeders to public transport and act as a primary mode in areas with no accessibility to conventional public transport, such as buses or metro. However, this sector, represented primarily by the driver community, often lacks technical and managerial skills for operations. In Kochi, Kerala, more than 4,500 fossil fuel powered autorickshaws are running. Half of the population is dependent on the autorickshaws for daily commute. Therefore, the electrification of autorickshaws has a huge potential in the city. It is also crucial for Kochi’s vision towards green urban mobility.

In this regard, the Ernakulam Jilla Autorickshaw Drivers’ Co-operative Society (EJADCS) was formed in 2019 to effectively run green and affordable autorickshaw operations for the welfare of autorickshaw drivers and their families. Under the Indo-German development cooperation project ‘Sustainable Urban Mobility - Air Quality, Climate Action, Accessibility (SUM-ACA)’ GIZ supported the roll out of 100 electric three-wheelers – in terms of planning, financing, and purchasing. In addition to strengthening EJADCS’ organisational capacity, GIZ was engaged in a series of workshops for an efficient operation of e-auto’s services in the city.

Autorickshaw Ambulances

With the onset of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Kochi, EJADCS – with the support of SUM-ACA – launched several autorickshaw ambulances. Driven by 16 volunteers, they provided 24-hour free service and catered to the needs of COVID-19 patients in the city, including 227 patient transfers between hospitals and homes, supply of medicines, oximeters and facilitating movement of the medical staff to the patients’ houses. This initiative gained recognition at national level and EJADCS was felicitated for the same at the Urban Mobility India Conference 2020.

Click here to watch a video of the Autorickshaw ambulances on Twitter.

Field Visit by GIZ Head of Division

During his visit to Kochi in July 2022, Mr. Marcus Lange, Head of Division Asia I, congratulated the EJADCS cooperative for its achievements. He also took the audience by surprise with his e-auto driving skills.


The Indo-German development cooperation project ‘Sustainable Urban Mobility - Air Quality, Climate Action, Accessibility (SUM-ACA)’ is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India. The project is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and aims at enabling national, state and municipal institutions to promote climate and environmentally friendly, low emission and socially balanced urban mobility systems. The project is part of the Green Urban Mobility Partnership between Germany and India.