Nitin Gadkari has been at the forefront of propagating India's ambitions in the field of electric mobility and speaking at the 18th edition of Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on Friday, once again backed battery-powered vehicles to become common on the country's roads in the times to come.
Highlighting that the cost of lithium-ion batteries is coming down steadily, Gadkari said that even phones used to cost a lot in the past but their prices today have become more affordable. "A Motorola phone used to cost a lot in the past but is much more affordable today. EVs today are costly even if their running costs are low. A large part of the cost is because of the lithium-ion batteries but that cost is coming down," he explained. "Lot of people are buying e-bikes, e-cars, e-rickshaws in India. We don't need an artificial push in EV production."
At a time when most experts believe that the EV revolution in the country will be led by the two and three-wheeler segments before a rise in the commercial space, Gadkari said he would want to see e-trucks on highways much like trains running on electricity currently. "We are developing electric buses, e-double-decker buses. A pilot project is being considered for e-highway between Delhi and Mumbai. Just like railway, I want to see electric trucks on our highways," he said.
Gadkari also stressed on how work on alternate fuels will go a long distance in ensuring that India's crude oil imports worth ₹7 lakh crore is reduced.
The minister went on to underline how important it is to continue the pace of highway construction and specifically pointed out that Covid-19 has had no impact on road projects. "To revive economy after Covid-19, we need to spend more on infrastructure. Road construction creates employment," he explained. (Read full report here)