Road transport, highways and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari has said the government aims to develop infrastructure for running all public transport on electricity.
“I saw electric buses using inductive charging technology, which is a way of wirelessly charging a bus, in Sweden recently. I even spoke of developing an electric highway. We can make a lane from Delhi to Mumbai with electric charging cables akin to overhead-cables used in the railways,” Gadkari said today.
He added that the government is trying to develop an indigenous cost-effective and pollution-free public transport system. “The cost of battery in electric vehicles has reduced by 30 per cent, I started this from Nagpur where we installed 25 charging stations and introduced 200 electric taxis. I am seeking participation from private companies for this,” he said.
He also said the government aims to develop infrastructure for running public transport to run on other alternate fuels. “In cities with nearby places such as Mumbai-Pune, Delhi to Jaipur etc, we are working on a plan to use buses which can run on electricity, ethanol, biodiesel, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), biogas and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG),” he said.
Gadkari also said his ministry is working on a proposal with Niti Aayog to run buses on methanol. “Niti Aayog’s (Member) Dr Saraswat and I are working on a proposal to have 50 buses in Mumbai and Pune run on Methanol. Volvo has successfully made an engine which runs on Methanol,” he said.
He also said countries like US, Brazil and Canada run buses on flex-engines which can run on petrol, ethanol-blended petrol and 100 per cent ethanol and the choice is given to the consumers. “Rice-straw burnt by farmers is one of the major causes of pollution in Delhi. One tonne of rice-straw can produce 400 litres of ethanol. Agro-waste ethanol production, which makes second generation ethanol, will now be used after the petroleum ministry has decided to set up 15 projects for it,” he said.
Gadkari also stated the ministry is working towards reducing the cost of Lithium-Ion batteries by using alternative technologies, introducing buses with reduced fares and introduce electric bikes as a mode of public transport. “One company has even developed an electric bike which can run for around two-and-a-half hours on a full charge and will also reduce the cost of fuel drastically,” he said, adding the government is thinking of using these bikes as taxi service using a mobile application.