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Plan for future, switch over to electric vehicles: Nitin Gadkari to automakers


Keeping the Central Government goal, to get rid of petrol and diesel vehicles from Indian roads by 2030, in mind, Minister of Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari has urged automakers in the country to move to electric vehicles.

According to the minister, the government is going to go after diesel vehicles in a big way.

“So don’t complain later the and say you have unsold inventory if they are banned,” said Gadkari to diesel-based car manufacturers.

Indian government is pushing for electric vehicle as it sees cost and clean advantage. According to the government’s ambitious plan, India will become an all electric vehicle country by 2030.

The move will not merely expect to reduce pollution but cut oil imports. In comparison, a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine costs Rs 7 per km to run, whereas electrical vehicle costs Rs 1 per km.

At present, less than 1% of the 200 million vehicles on Indian roads are estimated to be electric vehicles.

Gadkari emphasised that automakers have to think of producing clean energy based vehicle whether they like it or not. However, moving to environment-friendly alternatives to petrol and diesel won’t be easy for manufacturers.

In July this year, Chairman and CEO of Mercedes Benz India, Roland Forger expressed concerns over lack of local resources such as component and battery suppliers in the country.

According to Forger, Mercedes Benz would need a ramp-up period when the government would extend its incentives to EVs that are not manufactured locally. Until there is a green signal, it would not be feasible to open up a factory.

Earlier last year, the Apex Court had banned diesel cars and SUVs with an engine capacity over 2000cc in the Delhi-NCR region. The ruling impacted the sales of Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Toyota, which had many diesel models, and forced them to market more petrol and electric vehicles.

Recent Development in E-Vehicle Market

The Indian government also announced to support at least 60 percent of R&D cost for developing an indigenous low-cost electric technology, in January this year.

Prior to this, state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) has invited global bids for 10,000 electric sedans that will run up to 150 km on a single charge, for use by government departments, taking a big step to achieve power minister Piyush Goyal’s dream of having only electric cars on Indian streets by 2030.

The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan seeks to have 400,000 electric vehicles on India’s streets by 2020. However, electric cars have a tough road to travel. Due to lack of technology and demand, sales of electric vehicles and hybrids declined to 25,000 units in 2016-17 from 32,000 the previous year.

Earlier in June, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had said that he is in talks with the government of India to get a relief on import restrictions until a local factory is built in the country.

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