Baghpat: India’s first electric taxi project will be launched in Nagpur on 24 May, road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said.
In Baghpat to inspect work on the Rs5,763-crore Eastern Peripheral Expressway, he added that Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd will be providing 200 taxis for the project.
Mint reported on 15 March about the Mumbai-based automobile manufacturer being in talks with Gadkari to initiate a pilot project in Nagpur with 200 electric taxis in the first phase.
Gadkari said the project will be undertaken by Nagpur Municipal Corporation and will be the first of its kind in the country.
The plan comes against the backdrop of an ambitious government strategy for a mass shift to electric vehicles by 2030—one that aims to ensure all vehicles on Indian roads run on electric power.
“We wanted to start the project early but there are some problems in setting up charging stations," said Gadkari.
The government is working on creating infrastructure for electric vehicles such as charging stations, along with bringing down the cost of batteries by facilitating technology transfer.
The electric vehicle plan is slowing gaining traction with ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs cab-hailing service Ola, planning to introduce electric cabs on a pilot basis in major Indian cities, Mint reported on 28 March.
Electric taxis will also help tackle increasing pollution levels in the country. The road ministry over the past year has been trying to work on pollution-reduction technologies for vehicles. An electric bus for members of Parliament is also being run by it.
Any shift to electric vehicles will also help reduce energy imports. India’s energy import bill is expected to double from around $150 billion to $300 billion by 2030. The government has set an ambitious target of selling six million such vehicles by 2020.