Aimed at promoting cost-effective and pollution-free transport system and reducing staggering imports of crude oil with green substitutes, the government will promote usage of electric vehicles in the country — a pilot of which was launched with a fleet of 200 vehicles on Friday.
Flagging off the fleet, manufactured by Mahindra and Mahindra, Tata Motors and others, road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari, however, said though the government does not want to promote petrol and diesel cars, it does not have the intention to wipe them out immediately. “Our intention is to promote import-substitute, cost-effective, pollution-free and indigenous transport system in the country. We are coming out with a policy,” Gadkari said.
A group of ministers, constituted to prepare the draft plan for the electric vehicle policy, has already submitted its recommendations to the Cabinet secretary. The policy will include both light and heavyweight electric vehicles like cars and buses.
The minister said since the Indian automotive industry is set to grow to Rs25 lakh crore from Rs4.5 lakh crore now, time is ripe to focus on such environment-friendly vehicles. He said India’s staggering Rs7 lakh crore worth of crude import bill should be brought down to nil even as vehicles using petrol and diesel might continue to ply as India produces 30% of such fuel on its own.
According to a recent report jointly published by the Niti Aayog in association with Rocky Mountain Institute, India can reduce its annual diesel and petrol consumption by 156 million tonne by 2030, saving a total of $60 billion per year by adopting a shared, electric and connected mobility future, which can also save around one gigatonne of carbon emissions between 2017 and 2030.
Aimed at encouraging the domestic manufacturing of electric cars, the government also wants promotion of R&D in the electric mobility sector. It is also ready to hand-hold the sunrise industry in the initial years.
Pawan Goenka, managing director, Mahindra and Mahindra, which has recently announced a plan to take its e-vehicle manufacturing capacity in Pune to 5,000 units per month from 400 per month now, said that reducing the cost of batteries is a challenge for the automaker to enhance capacity.