EVs to cost same as petrol-run vehicles in two years: Nitin Gadkari

EV sales in India rose 162 per cent in the last year, said MoRTH last week, citing the latest available data.


Electric Vehicles | Nitin Gadkari  | petrol

Dhruvaksh Saha  | 
New Delhi 

Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said that rapid strides in green fuel technology will reduce the cost of electric vehicles (EVs), bringing them on a par with petrol-run vehicles in two years’ time.

In his reply to a discussion on the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ (MoRTH) additional demand for grants, the minister hailed the rise in EV sales, adding that the future will be led by alternative fuels derived from renewable energy sources, such as electric, green hydrogen, and ethanol.

EV sales in India rose 162 per cent in the last year, said MoRTH last week, citing the latest available data.

Committed to cleaner energy and low-carbon pathways, Gadkari had launched a pilot project for India’s first hydrogen-based advanced fuel cell EV last week.

“We want to become energy exporters in the future,” he had said at the launch.

He also stressed on the need for reducing pollution in the country, saying his ministry has to spend Rs 62,000 crore to tackle toxic air in the national Capital, which often sees hazardous air quality during winters.

Members of the Lok Sabha (LS) had on Monday also raised concerns on the felling of trees for highway construction.

Gadkari told the House that the ministry was working on a policy to have 1,000 contractors undertake transplantation work.

“We want to reduce felling and transplant more trees instead,” he said.

No change in construction pace formula

Gadkari also told the LS that important national highway and expressway projects will be completed by December.

“Projects like Delhi-Dehradun Expressway, Delhi-Jaipur Expressway, and Delhi-Mumbai Expressway will be completed before the end of this year,” he said in his reply to the discussion.

He added that the Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway will also be completed soon.

Earlier, the minister had reportedly said that the government planned to increase the speed of construction to 50 kilometres (km) per day.

“Some members raised concerns that we were using the wrong method to calculate national highway construction. The formula is the same as it was during the United Progressive Alliance government. If we construct four lanes of 1 km, we still count it as 1 km – and the same is done for six lanes and eight lanes.”

He added that using the same formula, the government achieved a peak construction pace of 38 km per day last year. So far this year, the government has constructed highways at a pace of 24 km per day – much lower than last year’s average.

Rs 14K crore for road safety, inspired by Tamil Nadu

Gadkari also informed that the Centre, in collaboration with World Bank and Asian Development Bank, will roll out a new project at a cost of Rs 14,000 crore identifying ‘accident blackspots’.

The Centre will bear 50 per cent of the project’s cost, he added.

He said the policy has been inspired by the Tamil Nadu model of road safety, which has cut down road accidents and deaths by half.

India sees the highest road accidents and deaths in the world. The latest data says that 500,000 accidents have taken place over the past year, resulting in the deaths of 150,000, mostly in the age group of 18-45.

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