Electric vehicles are economically & practically viable for our cities: Nitin Gadkari

“Public transport running on biofuel and electricity is the focus of the government as it would be environment friendly and cost effective” said Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport, Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India, while addressing the first edition of ‘Smart Mobility Conference’ organized by FICCI.

Gadkari added that India is an electric-surplus and coal surplus country and the nation can capitalize on this advantage to become an all-electric vehicle hub in the world. Having steered the country’s first electric vehicles project in Nagpur, the Minister said that, at present, there are 200 electric taxis in Nagpur along with 200 charging stations and by next month charging capacity of more than 10,000 cars will be created. The government is planning to increase the number of electric taxis from 200 to 2000 in Nagpur. Increasing production will also reduce the cost of lithium-ion battery over time, which almost makes up for 40% of the total cost of an electric vehicle.

He further mentioned that there is a lot of potential from the London Transport Model to enhance e-mobility in India and his ministry is engaging with them to scope out synergies in implementing the same model in various cities like Varanasi, Nagpur and Pune among others.

Emphasizing the need of pollution-free methanol as fuel in vehicles, the Minister cited the example of Sweden, where an efficient system has been developed for substituting diesel by methanol as fuel. He added that, research in converting carbon dioxide to methanol is promising and can be a game changer for the economy.

Gadkari concluded by highlighting that cost effective, indigenous, import substitute and pollution free electric vehicles is the smart mobility solution for India.

Pankaj R Patel, President, FICCI and Chairman & Managing Director, Zydus Cadila – Cadila Healthcare Limited, in his welcome address, highlighted the focus of this conference in building a sustainable, digital andintegrated mobility ecosystem. According to Mr. Patel, new business models and disruptive technologies in the field of mobility are going to bring about a significant change in our daily lives through effective mobility management and our government’s efforts to embrace this future-oriented mobility ecosystem will go a long way in making our country the hub of smart mobility in the world.

On the occasion, FICCI-Rocky Mountain Institute knowledge report on ‘Enabling India’s Transition to Electric Mobilitywas unveiled by Nitin Gadkari and other dignitaries. The report highlights the way forward to accelerate electric mobility in India by addressing the key areas of public transportation, shared mobility services, interoperable transport data, EV charging infrastructure and manufacturing.

While launching the FICCI taskforce on e-mobility, K Ramchand, Chairman, FICCI National Committee on Infrastructure and Managing Director, IL&FS Transportation Networks Limited, said that, FICCI will coordinate with the government and the industry on devising a roadmap for transition to smart mobility through stakeholder meetings, policy representation to the government and by working on in-house research reports for dissemination of required information to the stakeholders.

Ramchand further stated that India imports 82% of its oil requirements and switching to clean mobility can cut the oil import bill by around $60 billion in the next few years. Around 31% of our population resides in urban areas and this figure is likely to reach 50% by 2030. This indicates the need for smart urban transportation to manage the mobility needs of the growing urban population. India requires e-mobility the most and Make in India is the flavor of the moment according to Mr. Ramchand.

Earlier delivering the Special Address at the Inaugural, Dr. Amory Lovins, Co-founder, Chairman Emeritus and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute, highlighted that shared, electric, and connected mobility is key to India’s transition to electric mobility. According to Dr. Lovins, signs indicate that the pace of India’s energy transformation could be astonishing: the nation singlehandedly reduced the cost of LEDs by 80% in one year, and the Government of India has set its sights on an ambitious target of 100% electric vehicles by 2030.

Poul V. Jensen, Director, European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC) said that EBTC is working towards helping India implement the European smart mobility solutions in an indigenized way. He suggested that exploring innovative financing models for smart mobility solutions is crucial at this moment along with drawing a roadmap for the manufacturing and procurement of the electric vehicles in India.

The Smart Mobility Conference consisted of panel discussions on three carefully crafted technical and focused sessions on optimization of electric mobility solutions & green technologies for city’s sustainability, Intelligent Transport System (ITS) & digital technologies for better traffic flow management and development of urban metro rail for smart urban transportation.

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