Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari feels the heavy cost of imported crude oil has been driving the country to face crucial economic challenges, while heavy use of fossil fuel is also creating pollution problems.
“Our import bill for petroleum products is Rs 8 lakh crore. And on these lines we need to find alternatives. There are different alternatives and the government is working on all options and I feel in due course of time, we will be able to give these alternatives ,” Gadkari said in an exclusive interview to CNBC-TV18 on April 26.
Speaking about the willingness of Indians on buying electric vehicles, Gadkari said that he is reaching out to electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers for easier and faster deliveries. “People are coming to me for electric vehicles, because the waiting period is 6-8 months and they are taking my letters to EV makers for a faster delivery,” he said. "Till now, I have given 50-60 letters.”
Highlighting the shift in consumer preference, the minister said that there was a time when people had lots of apprehensions about electric vehicles, but now we have e-scooters, e-rickshaws and e-cars. We even have e-truck now and the company has approached me for its launch.
“I feel the Indian industry is marching towards making alternative for that (petroleum products). We are already developing the battery chemistry i.e. lithium ion is already there and we are making zinc ion and aluminium ion chemistry – by which I am confident that in some time these will be an alternative for that (petroleum products),” Gadkari said while speaking on the second day of the three-day Raisina Dialogue.“We are now moving towards green hydrogen. It can be a good source, a great future… I personally use a green hydrogen car and it is very beautiful. Green hydrogen is the future… Now we need to plan ways in which we can convert sewage water into green hydrogen,” he added.