In an attempt to reduce pollution in India’s capital, the Delhi administration has come up with an unusual idea. It’s promoting e-mobility with the help of a WhatsApp chatbot.
The air quality in India’s capital Delhi is… well, not great. And that’s putting it mildly. According to a WHO survey among 1,650 cities in the world, Delhi has the worst air pollution of any major city in the world. According to the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, Delhi reported an annual average of 150 μg/m3. In comparison: the WHO guideline is 10 μg / m3!
Delhi’s nine million vehicles are one of the main factors that contribute to the poor air quality. In order to promote greener ways of transportation, Delhi’s administration has now launched an unconventional tool: a WhatsApp chatbot.
Delhi’s WhatsApp chatbot answers questions about EVs
The WhatsApp chatbot was designed to give citizens easier access to information about electric vehicles. With WhatsApp being India’s favorite messaging app, it makes sense for the city administration to reach out to Delhiites via WhatsApp.
The chatbot can answer the most frequently asked questions around electric cars, the city's EV pledge, or the nearest charging station. It offers an EV calculator that shows users their potential savings when switching to an electric vehicle as well. Users can also find out where they can find a suitable vehicle for themselves.
The Delhi administration partnered with WhatsApp to create the chatbot, and the user interface has been kept simple on purpose, in favor of making it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to access the information. The main goal of the campaign is to create more awareness around e-mobility, and encourage the use of electric vehicles.
Delhi's new WhatsApp chatbot is part of Principal Secretary Ashish Kundra's ambitious plan to turn Delhi into the "EV capital of India". Among other measures, Kundra has been pushing for more EV charging stations around the city. And there's also a subsidy program to encourage women to learn how to drive electric vehicles.
Government relies on WhatsApp for important information
This is not the first time, an Indian administration uses WhatsApp as a communication tool. In the past years, the Indian government has repeatedly turned towards WhatsApp to spread important information to its population.
For example, the government of the southern Indian state of Telangana, used WhatsApp to inform citizens about the Covid-19 pandemic, and stop the spread of misinformation.