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India can become electric vehicle manufacturing hub within five years: Nitin Gadkari

  |   Solar, solar industry

The industry needs to cut dependence on electric vehicle battery imports from China, said the road transport minister, adding that the government is looking to support research on alternatives to lithium-ion battery technology.

India can become a manufacturing hub for electric vehicles in the next five years, said road transport minister Nitin Gadkari, urging the industry to grab opportunities as global companies look for alternatives to China in the wake of Covid pandemic.

“It’s a blessing in disguise for the Indian economy that the whole world is now not very much interested to deal with China. A lot of people from different parts of the world want to deal with India,” said the minister who was addressing a webinar on ‘India’s Electric Vehicle Roadmap post-Covid-19’ yesterday.

“The Government is trying to extend best possible concessions to this (electric vehicles) sector, and has lowered the goods and service tax (GST) on electrical vehicles to 12%,” he informed.

The minister emphasized on cutting the dependence on imports from China and asked the industry to find alternatives to lithium battery imports within India.

“It’s time for Indian innovators and manufacturers to find alternatives. We need to find alternatives to battery imports within India,” he said, acknowledging that Indian startups are already working on different technologies.

In this context, selection of appropriate technology is important. “As new options are coming up every other day, the industry needs to look at technology which will be successful in the long term,” Gadkari said, stressing on the need to upgrade charging technology too.

Electric highway in the offing

Gadkari said, with petroleum fuel being available in limited quantity, the world has to look for alternate and cheap sources of power. He said, electric and bio fuels stand a good chance for adoption. He also indicated towards the ensuing vehicle scrapping policy, and commented that it will give a fillip to auto manufacturing sector.

The minister recalled the London model of public transport, where private and public investment is working well. He said, adopting similar approach will be beneficial for both the poor commuters and the civic administration. He indicated towards working on a pilot project for developing an electric highway on the upcoming Delhi-Mumbai Green Corridor.