Road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari has urged electronic vehicle (EV) manufacturers to take steps to pare costs so that demand for these vehicles increases and a sizeable market is created. “E-mobility is going to be the future mode of economic transport. There is economic viability for EV manufacturers, but at present they are not in a mood to reduce cost. Reducing cost may result in some losses initially, but will bring great benefits. As a marketing strategy, you have to reduce the cost to get numbers and once the market picks up, there will be no looking back,” Gadkari said addressing a Ficci seminar. The minister said the government will provide all help to EV manufacturers and that the country has the potential to become the largest EV manufacturer in the world in the next five years.
EVs are needed to reduce not only crude oil imports, but also the level of pollution in Indian cities. “Air pollution is a million-dollar problem. We need to find an integrated approach to it. The transport sector alone was responsible for 18% energy demand, and 70% of it was met through imported crude oil,” Gadkari said. He said 22 new green expressways have been planned, including the one between Bangalore and Chennai, which will be completed in three years.
“We have to develop an ecosystem of fast-charging or swapping of batteries. We need to encourage manufacturing of such battery cells in India,” he said. Dr Pawan Goenka, managing director, Mahindra and Mahindra, urged the minister to put EVs under priority sector lending. Gadkari said he would convey the demand to the finance ministry.
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