In a direct push towards sustainable road transport, the Union Minister, Nitin Gadkari reiterated the need for initiatives to give a dynamic boost to the sustainable transportation sector.
Given the growing popularity of road transport post-Covid, he focused on his ambitious plan to boost EV adoption, “Let us plan luxury electric buses that can travel from Mumbai to Delhi in just 12 hours.” Sharing his vision for the Delhi-Mumbai Express Highway, the Union Minister highlighted that, “My plan is to connect Nariman Point to Delhi. 70 percent of work has already been completed.”
Gadkari said that electricity as an automobile fuel is highly cost-effective when compared to other fuels like diesel. “Import of crude oil is a big challenge for the Government. Use of solar power has reduced the cost of electricity to a large extent.”
Pitching electricity as an alternative fuel, the Union Minister said 35 percent of pollution in the country is due to diesel and petrol. In this context, the Minister highlighted the need for import-substituting, cost-effective, pollution-free and indigenous products. “It is time for India to start using alternative fuels like electricity, ethanol, methanol, bio-diesel, bio-CNG, bio-LNG and green hydrogen for the automobile sector.”
Switch Mobility, an Ashok Leyland subsidiary aims to deploy a total of 900 e-double decker buses in Mumbai. For the first phase, Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) will procure around 200 e-buses from the company.
A report by the Government of India’s think tank NITI Aayog, in partnership with Rocky Mountain Initiative (RMI) India, analyses that if FAME II and other measures are successful, India could realize EV sales penetration of 40 percent of buses by 2030. These figures have often been quoted by the Minister of Road Transport and Highways of India and are considered synonymous with a national vision.
E-bus sales in Q2 2022 experienced an increase of 39 percent as compared to the previous quarter, clocking 467 units in sales. On a y-o-y basis, e-bus sales witnessed a jump of 51percent in Q2 2022 over sales in Q2 2021.
For the current quarter, Olectra Greentech led the e-Bus sales while PMI Electro Mobility witnessed a dip in its sales compared to last quarter. Olectra Greentech accounted for 31percent of the sales this quarter, followed by PMI (27%), and JBM Auto (21%).
The quarter witnessed some significant measures being taken by central government agencies to promote the adoption of EVs. The government of India plans mega tenders for 50,000 electric city buses in the country after the super success of CESL’s mega 5,450 electric bus tenders in April 2022 that received an enthusiastic response from the industry and realised a cost reduction of 40 percent over diesel and 34 percent over CNG buses.
Sharing his plans for the automobile industry, Gadkari said, “My dream is to make the automobile industry from the current size of Rs 7.5 lakh crore to Rs 15 lakh crore by the end of the year 2024.” This is an achievable target, he added. The Minister observed that the sector has maximum employment potential and gives maximum taxes to central and state governments.