Nitin Gadkari bats for indigenous mobility solutions to reduce pollution

The minister was speaking at the valedictory function of the 17th edition of the Symposium on International Automotive Technology (SIAT).

Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari batted for the development of “cost-effective, pollution-free indigenous mobility solutions and the use of alternative fuels like ethanol, methanol, LNG, Green Hydrogen and Bio-CNG for transportation” on Friday. The minister was speaking at the valedictory function of the 17th edition of the Symposium on International Automotive Technology (SIAT). The programme was organised virtually by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) in association with SAEINDIA and SAE International (USA).

“We have to modify our approach towards how we are looking at the life cycle of energy, which we are using for our transportation. The most appropriate way is the ‘cradle-to-grave approach’, which takes into account carbon emission right from the method of generation of energy till its emission,” the minister added.

Dr Reji Mathai, the director of ARAI, and Rajendra Petkar, the vice-president of ARAI and the president and the CTO of Tata Motors, among others, attended the event. The session was hosted by Nabeel A Khan, the editor of ET Auto.

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“The auto sector contributes 7.1% of the nation’s GDP, with an annual turnover of Rs 7.5 lakh cr and exports worth Rs 3.5 lakh cr. Several global brands are entering India with a focus on manufacturing electric vehicles (EV), while local entrepreneurs are also setting up large facilities to produce EV. The government expects that the launch of the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme to promote the automotive sector will lead to an investment of Rs 42,500 cr and the creation of 7.5 lakh jobs in the sector,” Gadkari said.

Stressing upon the need to conduct research on using more sustainable substitutes like aluminium, zinc and sodium to produce EV batteries, Gadkari said that ARAI can explore the alternatives by collaborating with institutes like ISRO, IITs and the DRDO, which are trying to produce long-life, low-cost, high-efficiency batteries and EV components.

“We are planning to introduce flex-fuel engine vehicles that run on ethanol to reduce pollution. These are currently used in the USA, Brazil and Canada. It can be done by tapping into the strength of the agriculture sector to produce energy and power. The generation of bio-CNG from agricultural waste will solve the problem of air pollution. We also want to promote the use of green hydrogen, which can help us achieve the ‘zero-carbon-emission’ mission,” he said.

The minister also stressed on improving road safety. Notably, 1.5 lakh people die in the country every year owing to road accidents.

“There is a need to improve bus body quality for safety and work towards installation of sleep detection devices in vehicles to keep a check on the drivers. The focus should be on making Indian vehicles at par with foreign vehicles in terms of safety, body designs and fuel efficiency,” he said.

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