The Highway Minister announced India’s ambition to become a top exporter of electric vehicles, including cars, buses, and trucks, within the next five years. He also mentioned that the Union Finance Minister’s budget speech included plans for a circular economy, incorporating vehicle scrapping, rubber recycling with bitumen, and the use of plastic in road construction.
The Road Transport and Highways Minister, Nitin Gadkari, addressed the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, discussing the impact of lithium-ion battery waste on the environment. Congress member Ranjeet Ranjan raised concerns about the harmful effects of such waste, including its negative impact on workers in battery manufacturing and soil fertility. Gadkari responded that the government is unaware of any reports confirming these issues but would seriously consider any future findings. He emphasized the government’s commitment to recycling and the circular economy, mentioning initiatives like vehicle scrapping and the use of recycled materials in road construction.
Gadkari also highlighted India’s goal to lead in exporting electric vehicles within five years and noted the Union Finance Minister’s budget speech on circular economy strategies. He mentioned using municipal solid waste in road construction to protect the environment and reduce fossil fuel imports, which currently cost India over Rs 16 lakh crore annually.
He discussed the advancements in lithium battery technology, including alternative chemistries and the cost-effectiveness of electric vehicles compared to petrol vehicles. Although electric vehicles are currently more expensive, Gadkari believes their cost will equalize that of petrol and diesel vehicles within one and a half years as production volumes increase.
Lastly, Gadkari mentioned that India, having the sixth-largest reserve of lithium-ion, imports 1,200 tonnes of the material. He sees electric vehicles as popular despite their higher initial costs compared to traditional vehicles.