ETAuto NGVC: Gadkari reiterates indigenisation of alternate fuel to reduce import burden
Gadkari highlighted that with the increased production of ethanol, the government is aiming to cut down Rs 1 lakh crore in crude imports and invest in agriculture to create jobs.
New Delhi: Maintaining firm stance on reducing the country’s huge burden of import bill, Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport and Highways reiterates the need of increasing the indigenising production of alternative fuels- ethanol, methanol and biofuel and use as an alternative to petrol and diesel.
“At present India is spending close to Rs 7 lakh crore (20 per cent of the overall budget) on the import of crude oil that pose a monetary as well as a strategic burden on the Indian economy. This needs an imminent solution and its high time that our country should develop and import substitute, cost-effective, pollution-free and indigenous fuel option,” Gadkari said while addressing the inaugural session of ETAuto Natural Vehicle Conclave.
He further highlighted that with the increased production of ethanol, the government is aiming to cut down Rs 1 lakh crore in crude imports and invest in agriculture to create jobs.
About 22 per cent of ethanol can be blended with petrol which currently at 7 per cent. Similar to Toyota and Hyundai’s flexible engines in Brazil, Gadkari urges the Indian carmakers to focus on these for the Indian market so customers can choose from multiple options.
Meanwhile, as the Indian auto industry is preparing for adopting cleaner modes of technology (electric/ hybrid) going forward, members of parliament highlight some hurdles, the industry has to overcome.
Margani Bharat, MP from Arunachal Pradesh said that the government and the industry together has to decide how to strategize the use of alternative fuel. “When we go little behind in 2010, usage of natural gas was 10 per cent and went down to 6.2 per cent last year. Currently, global penetration is 2 per cent. Therefore, what we have to do to increase the penetration of alternative fuel usage and how we have to go is something to be discussed and decided for the next 15-20 years,” Bharat stressed.
According to Bharat, Andhra Pradesh is going to be the hub for natural gas protection and exploration in the next few years.
Resonating the similar views, Tapir Gao, Member of Parliament from Arunachal Pradesh emphasized that in order to limit crude oil usage, new technological inputs are required to further boost the use of CNG and LNG and requested the Indian government for their support in financial aid.
Furthermore, with the growing infrastructure and price difference between natural gas vehicles and diesel vehicles, NGVs are expected to grow faster and it is expected to account for 50 per cent of new three-four-wheeler sales, and help create 4 lakh jobs in India in the next 10 years.
Not just passenger cars, alternative fuel has a huge opportunity when it comes to commercial vehicles. “CNG is more suited for lower haul trucks. Also, the use of LNG in trucks is likely to go up with increased availability,” said Vinod Aggarwal, MD and CEO, VE Commercial Vehicles. He further added that biofuel has also a huge opportunity in commercial vehicles and may become the fuel of choice in the near term.
While transitioning to electric vehicles is the ultimate solution, industry stalwarts feel that the usage of vehicles powered by natural gas can act as an interim solution and bridge the gap until all the vehicles are electrified.
First edition of Natural Gas Vehicle Conclave kicked off with the focus on making NGVS as a mainstream mode of transportation for private and commercial purposes, which will also help the industry and the government to meet the carbon emission target promised under the Paris agreement.
ETAuto also released the Indian Auto Industry Status Report 2020 which brings the current scenario of the Indian auto industry and the challenges within.
The full-day event aims to bring all the stakeholders together to discuss the key points, challenges and issues pertaining to NGVs.
The event was sponsored by IGL, IGT, Maximum Brand Services, and Natural Gas Society along with ARAI. ET EnergyWorld and ET Government supported the event.