All buses in the country will switch to electric over the next two years without the government having to force the industry to transition to cleaner sources of mobility, Union Minister of Road Transport and highways Nitin Gadkari said.
"In the coming two years, all buses will be converted to electric," Gadkari said at the national conclave on energy efficiency in micro, small and medium enterprises here on Monday.
"They will run on bio-CNG, ethanol, methanol," Gadkari said, reiterating his firm stance on the adoption of alternative sources of energy, without necessarily switching to electric vehicles.
Gadkari has in the past said that the transition to electric mobility will come in its natural course of progression. "There is no need to make electric (vehicles) mandatory, or even ban petrol and diesel vehicles," Gadkari said.
Gadkari has been vocal about his support for India's automotive industry currently facing its worst slowdown in two decades.
The ministry of road transport and highways led by Gadkari has also put on hold the deliberations on imposing strict deadlines for phasing out of petrol and diesel-run two and three-wheelers in the country as proposed by Niti Aayog.
The government's policy think tank, in June, had set a deadline for phasing out of petrol and diesel-run 2 wheelers and 3 wheelers by 2023 and 2025, in a bid to promote electric vehicles in the country.
Speaking at a separate event later on Monday, Gadkari said that OEMs currently manufacturing Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles will switch to manufacturing electric vehicles going forward.
“In the time to come, India will become the manufacturing hub for vehicles running on electric and alternative fuels,” Gadkari said at the CII Bio-Energy Summit.
He said that India must move to indigenously produced fuel, and ultimately look at increasing the growth rate of the country and increasing employment potential.
“With our Rs. 7 lakh crores worth of fuel imports, we are also importing pollution. We have to find a way out of it,” Gadkari said.