NEW DELHI :
While the government will continue to focus on making India world’s top electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing hub, road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said there is no need for any timeline for automobile companies to switch to electric mobility.
“The government has diluted its tough stand (on banning internal combustion engine or ICE driven two, three wheelers by 2025 and 2023 respectively and switching to electric vehicles) and is not against the industry. Automobile companies can continue to manufacture and export petrol, diesel vehicles. There is no ban. But if there is a better product in the market, consumers will naturally choose that," Gadkari said at the launch of Bajaj Auto's first electric bike.
India’s second largest motorcycle manufacturer announced its second innings in the scooter segment, almost after a decade, with the launch of its electric scooter -- Chetak.
The Narendra Modi government has been making an aggressive push for a cleaner and cost-effective mode of transport. EVs will not only curb pollution but will also reduce India’s oil import bill.
In June, federal policy think tank NITI Aayog, which is spearheading the government’s EV initiative, had proposed to ban production of conventional two-wheelers under 150cc by 2025 and three-wheelers by 2023. The automobile industry, which is already grappling with tepid sales, amid a slowdown in the economy, had vehemently lobbied against the government’s plan to ban traditional petrol, diesel vehicles.
Eventually, EVs will get cheaper with rise in production and a switch to electric mobility will also boost automobile exports, he said.
NITI Aayog Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Amitabh Kant, who was also present at the launch, said India must become one of the largest two and three wheeler maker of electric vehicle in the world and should not miss this opportunity.
“We are in the middle of the biggest disruption in the mobility that is taking place across the world. Whether we like it or not, this disruption will take place. The world will move away from combustion engine…and cost of battery will fall radically," Kant said, adding that eventually the total cost of EVs will fall.