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NEW DELHI: Union minister for road, transport and highways, Nitin Gadkari, on Thursday launched electric double-decker bus ‘Switch EiV 22’, by Ashok Leyland, in Mumbai.

Launching the electric bus, Gadkari said, “There is a need to transform the country’s transport system, from a long-term perspective. With a focus on reforming urban transport, we are trying to build a low carbon footprint and high passenger density integrated Electric Vehicle (EV) mobility ecosystem. With growing consumer demand for greener transport solutions, the Government’s vision and policies aim to encourage higher adoption of electric vehicles."

As per Ashok Leyland, Switch EiV 22 is India’s first and unique electric double decker air-conditioned bus, which has been designed, developed and manufactured in India. Switch EiV 22 comes equipped with latest technology, ultra-modern design, highest safety and best-in-class comfort features.

Sharing his vision for the Delhi-Mumbai Express Highway, Gadkari said, “My plan is to connect Nariman Point to Delhi. 70% of work has already been completed." Exhorting automobile companies, he added, “Let us plan luxury electric buses that can travel from Mumbai to Delhi in just 12 hours."

 He said electricity as an automobile fuel is cost-effective when compared other fuels like diesel. “Import of crude oil is a big challenge for the government. Use of solar power has reduced the cost of electricity to a large extent."

Pitching for electricity as an alternative fuel, the minister said 35% of pollution in the country is due to diesel and petrol. In this context, he highlighted the need for import-substituting, cost-effective, pollution-free and indigenous products. “It is time for India to start using alternative fuels like electricity, ethanol, methanol, bio-diesel, bio-CNG, bio-LNG and green hydrogen for automobile sector."

Gadkari also said that, “My dream is to make the automobile industry from the current size of 7.5 trillion to 15 trillion by the end of the year 2024." This is an achievable target, he added. The minister observed that the sector has maximum employment potential and gives maximum taxes to central and state governments.

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