With the Centre expressing inability to bring diesel prices on a par with petrol to discourage people from using the polluting fuel, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked automobile companies to manufacture electric vehicles to curb the menace of air pollution.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and U Deepak Gupta said many international companies are producing efficient battery-operated vehicles and Indian auto companies should also strive towards that goal and switch over to producing electric vehicles.

“All kinds of electric cars are being manufactured in other countries but you are saying it is not possible in the country. You are perhaps not ready to invest money in manufacturing battery-operated vehicles. Ask your client to switch over to manufacturing battery run vehicles. If other companies can manufacture in foreign countries then you can also do it here,” the bench told Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures (SIAM), an umbrella body of auto companies.

SIAM had earlier told the apex court that it was not feasible to manufacture electric vehicles in India due to lack of sufficient infrastructure. It had said there were not enough charging points on the roads to recharge the batteries of electric vehicles to ensure their uninterrupted running.