“By the end of this year, we will have electric buses, taxis, autorickshaws… We are very serious about it and the automobile industry is also very serious about it,” Mr Gadkari, who holds the portfolio of road transport and highways, said at an event to mark the rollout of a fleet at Gurgaon.
To provide last-mile connectivity to metro travellers in Gurgaon, Mr Gadkari flagged off the fleet of first batch of 1,000 e-autorickshaws from the Huda City Centre metro station.
The minister, who was also given the charge of water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation in the latest Cabinet rejig, took the Delhi Metro to travel to Huda City Centre, the venue of the event, and used the same mode on his way back.
Terming himself as a “bulldozer”, the minister said his ministry and the government are constantly working towards electrification of vehicles.
“I am a bulldozer I want to stop this petrol, diesel… I am very much committed to transport based on electricity. My mission, my dream is public transport on electricity,” he said.
The government, he stressed, is striving to cut down huge import bills on crude and encouraging alternatives like bio-diesel, bio-methanol, ethanol, electricity and CNG.
“The policy of our department is to encourage bio-fuel. Ethanol, bio-diesel, bio-CNG, methanol are the future of the country. Our approach is to become import substitute, cost-effective, pollution free. Pollution is a big concern,” he said.
He pointed out that the fleet will not just provide cost effective and pollution free substitute in the transport system of Gurgaon, but will also generate employment opportunities for the marginalised youth.
The electric fleet is being operated by Treasure Vase Ventures Private Ltd, in partnership with Delhi Metro, under the SmartE brand name.
The e-autorickshaws have been manufactured in India and are fitted with GPS and tracking system. SmartE has formed strategic partnerships with the Haryana government and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to launch 1,000 such vehicles in Gurgaon and Faridabad in 2017.
The e-autorickshaws, SmartE, are expected to provide “meaningful” self-employment to over 1,00,000 marginalised youth in the next 4-5 years.