Gadkari pitches for alternative fuels for vehicles to reduce oil import, pollution


(Eds: Adding quotes) Mumbai, Aug 18  Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday pitched for the use of alternative fuels for vehicles to cut down on crude oil import as well as to reduce pollution.

As much as 35 per cent of the pollution in the country is due to diesel and petrol, Gadkari said, adding, “this is why we need import-substituting, cost-effective and pollution-free and indigenous products”.

At the launch of the countrys first electric double decker air-conditioned bus, the Minister for Road Transport and Highways said that electric automobiles are greatly cost effective when compared to diesel ones.

The minister also urged the industry to plan luxury electric buses which can cover the distance between Delhi and Mumbai in just 12 hours.

“In the Indian situation, import of crude oil is a big challenge. We are already experiencing the way rates are increased. It is also very difficult for the common man…,” he said.

According to him, it is time to start using alternative fuels like electricity, ethanol, methanol, bio-diesel, bio-CNG, bio-LNG and hydrogen for the automobile sector.

“There is a need to transform the countrys transport system, looking from a long-term perspective. With a focus on reforming urban transport, we are trying to build a low carbon footprint and high passenger density integrated Electric Vehicle (EV) mobility ecosystem.

“With growing consumer demand for greener transport solutions, the governments vision and policies aim to encourage higher adoption of electric vehicles.” Gadkari said.

Further, the minister said that some 70 per cent work on the Delhi and Mumbai Expressway has already been completed.

“My plan is to connect Nariman Point (in Mumbai) to Delhi. Let us plan luxury electric buses that can travel from Mumbai to Delhi in just 12 hours,” Gadkari said.       He also said the current size of the Indian automobile industry stands at Rs 7.5 lakh crore and has the maximum employment potential besides giving maximum taxes to central and state governments.

“My dream is to make this industry Rs 15 lakh crore by the end of 2024, and this is an achievable target,” he said, and emphasised that this is an achievable target.

Switch Mobility, the electric vehicle division of Hinduja groups flagship Ashok Leyland, on Thursday unveiled the countrys first electric double-decker air-conditioned bus EiV 22.

These 66-seater buses will replace the existing double-decker fleet of the BEST (Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport) undertaking.

As of now, Switch is operating its twin-floor electric AC buses in the United Kingdom.

Switch India has already secured an order of 200 electric double-decker buses from the BEST and it is looking at a dominant space in the electric double-decker segment across key regions in the country, the company said.

“We already have an order for 200 electric double-decker AC buses from BEST. We will deliver 50 of these buses this financial year. Many more cities are discussing with us for these buses,” Mahesh Babu, CEO Switch Mobility India and COO at Switch Mobility Ltd told PTI. PTI IAS RAM

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