The Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari made a strong pitch for clean and safe mobility driven by innovation to the auto industry. Attending the 62nd Convention of SIAM on September 15 and the annual 62nd ACMA Convention the previous day on September 14, he urged the industry to be “quality, innovation and safety-centric.” With a thrust on innovation in renewable sources of fuel like “ethanol based Flex Engine and green hydrogen,” he focussed on the need to cut down vehicular pollution.
Gadkari outlined how the auto industry contributed to nearly 35 percent of the vehicular pollution across the country and he cited the example of Brazil, Canada, USA while advocating the urgent need to adopt Flex fuel. In fact at the ACMA convention he announced that on September 28 the flex-fuel car will be unveiled in India, “I am going to launch the Toyota flex-fuel engine car in Delhi.”
He added that flex can help the country in both economic perspective as well as from pollution point of view. He highlighted how the lower cost of ethanol made economic sense for its speedy adoption. According to the Minister, “LNG is the fuel for future.” Comparing the cost of the diesel and LNG, he pointed out how adoption of LNG can bring down the logistic cost, “Planning to make 27 Green Express Highways. Logistics cost will reduce, which currently stands at 15-16%.”
However, innovation comes at a cost and in a price sensitive market like India that is always a concern. He called upon the auto industry to “invest some of our profit for making futuristic research.” Touching upon the growing EV sales, he outlined how 15 lakh electric vehicles have been registered in India so far with 162 percent rise in sales. Electric two-wheelers alone have grown over 400 percent. More than 200 startups are participating in manufacturing EVs. He believes that as the acceptance of the electric vehicles increases and cost of the battery comes down, it is possible “that the cost of petrol two-wheeler and electric vehicle will be at par.”
“We need to develop the quality which can be accepted by the world,” added Gadkari and urged Auto Inc “to reduce the imports and maximise exports. The choice of people is changing. I see a shift from cost-centric to quality-centric products by consumers.” He shared his dream of making the “Indian automobile industry the number one manufacturing hub in the world for electric, ethanol, bio-diesel, CNG, LNG and hydrogen” and evinced interest to collaborate with Auto Inc to make e-highways in the country.
In line with creating an environmental-friendly ecosystem, Gadkari stressed on the use of vehicle scrapping in bringing together a circular economy and transformation of “waste to wealth.” The Minister outlined that 1.2 crore vehicles can be certified for scrapping across India. However, there are only 10-20 centres but he sees the potential to start “at least three scrapping centre in every district.” This will result in recycling scraped materials like copper, steel, aluminum, and rubber and
“these materials are generally considered waste products but when you recycle and use them, it reduces the cost of components by 30% in manufacturing companies”, Gadkari added.
The other topic that Gadkari reiterated at both the forum is the need for road safety. He even added that introduction of BNCAP can enhance exports. He concluded his address on an optimistic note and called upon the industry to “adopt successful practices and new technology with proven success rate by which cost and pollution can be reduced in the transport sector.”