Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that two major
two-wheeler manufacturers will soon come up with electric and flex engine motorcycles
for the Indian market “by the end of this month”.
A flex engine
would mean that the two-wheeler will be capable of running on petrol or on
ethanol. The flex two-wheelers “can be run on 100 percent petrol and 100
percent ethanol”, the minister added.
The transport minister has been repeatedly talking
about the huge import bills; the country spends about Rs 7 lakh crore on import
bills and his aim is to save at least Rs 2 lakh crore which will be possible
through the use of alternative fuel like ethanol. In fact the shift to ethanol ‘will
turn around the agriculture economy’.
The transport minister said that ethanol can be easily
produced form wheat straw, rice straw,
bamboo and other produce, and went on to explain that the government is working
on policies to promote use of ethanol.
"One tonne of rice straw can produce 280 litres
of ethanol and give rise to new industries. It is not only import substitute
but cost effective, pollution free and clean fuel," he asserted.
There is a need to change the crop pattern if there is
surplus crop towards ethanol production, the minister said adding when America,
Brazil and Canada can run vehicles like Mercedes, BMW, Ford or Toyota on flex engine, why can't
automobile players do the same here.
He said one litre of ethanol would cost about half
the petrol price and urged the need for massive bamboo plantation
in the North East for this.
The minister said instead of setting up refineries at
a cost of Rs 70,000 crore, India could go for massive bamboo
plantation to obtain ethanol. The minister said plans are afoot to gradually
convert transport to electric, ethanol, methanol, bio-diesel, bio CNG and other
The minister also said electric buses will be promoted
and using super capacitor technology, a charged bus can run for 36 km and will
be charged in 3 minutes
He said about a dozen companies have started
manufacturing lithium ion batteries and the prices have dropped by 50 per cent
and added that recently in Gurgaon a green transport fleet of 1,000 electric
auto-rickshaws was launched.