Indian companies and researchers will be able to develop electric vehicles that will be “equal to Tesla in India from the technology point of view,” Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday.
Gadkari, the Minister of Road Transport and Highways and MSME, spoke at The Indian Express Idea Exchange programme, that EV major Tesla would be starting operations in India early 2021.
Gadkari said: “Tesla in India is preparing to start operations in India by early 2021. I am sure that there are a lot of EV which are equal to Tesla from the technology point of view. Indian manufacturers are doing a lot of research and changes. In due course of time, you will get electric cars which will be equal to Tesla. I am confident and the cost will be very less.”
Adding that in due course India would be the “number one manufacturer” of electric vehicles like cars, bikes, trucks, tractors and construction machinery that run on electricity.
Gadkari further continued that Tesla will start operations first with sales and then maybe look at assembly and manufacturing based on the response to the cars.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk who earlier said that the process to bring Tesla cars to India will begin in January 2021, has now refused to give any fixed timeline when his electric cars will arrive in the country.
Responding to a follower who asked about getting an update on whether Tesla India is still happening in January 2021, Musk said: “No, but definitely this year”.
In October, Musk said the electric car maker is finally ready to enter the India market next year. Reacting to a tweet by Tesla Club India, Musk said: “Will release order configurator probably in Jan.”
A lot of small companies have started manufacturing electric scooters and bikes in factories in Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country. Already a lot of research is going on to indigenously develop an alternative to lithium-ion batteries since most lithium-ion batteries are imported from China.
Few issues have aroused related to lithium-ion. Argentina has got huge reserves of lithium-ion and our Indian players are also trying to get lithium-ion the world over. But this is also true that the Chinese have already picked up stakes in the majority of the lithium -on mines.
Indian researchers were also now trying to invent a better alternative to lithium-ion batteries.
Gadkari said: “Take for example ISRO sending satellites, using a different type of batteries. Research is going on and our people are competent and we will get the solution for that. Sodium ion batteries are also in the process of being made. The research is in the final stages. I am very much confident about our IITs and engineering graduates. In this field we will get success. The sodium ion batteries are very cheap. So, we may get the solution. We will be the number-one manufacturers of electric bikes, scooters, tractors, trucks, and even construction equipment machinery of electric in due course.”
The research is still on to invent aluminum-ion batteries also and he has already inaugurated heavy construction machinery that runs on electricity.
The minister said: “We already have electric cars, bikes, vehicles, in the transport sector. Again, we are trying an EV-based public transport system. Already a lot of people, small companies are making e-bikes and e-scooters in UP and different states in India. The crucial problem with EV is the lithium-ion battery. Now we are encouraging people to make in India and “Made in India”. One of the important things is a lot of research is going on.”
There is a lot of sale of the electric buses, like in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur.
These vehicles are available in airports also. Now even electric tractors are now in the process of being manufactured.
One of the leading companies wants to launch electric trucks. Just 20 days ago Nitin Gadkari launched a JCB on CNG. So, a lot of change is going on and we are 100 percent certain that it is very cost effective, import-substitute, pollution-free and indigenous.
The Union Minister said: “We have already in the process of making (vehicle) scrapping policy. With the scrapping policy, I am confident that India will be the number one manufacturing hub in the world.”
Gadkari quoted the example of his son who, he said, took 10 SUVs on lease for Rs 45,000 per car per month for managers of sugar mills. “I asked him why are you taking this? He was telling me that his total expenditure on one car was Rs 1 lakh per month. By purchasing this he was saving Rs 30,000 per month because electricity is very cheap. There is a charging system in the house and in the office also,” he said.
All the information was quoted and brought from Union Minister Gadkari statements.
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