Vehicle manufacturers have been asked to stop producing and selling diesel-powered vehicles, and Nitin Gadkari has urged them to promote other technologies.

While speaking virtually at the annual convention of the industry group SIAM, Gadkari said the government is committed to providing users with the option of running a vehicle on either 100 percent gasoline or 100 percent bioethanol.

“I appeal to vehicle manufacturers to discourage the production and sale of diesel engine vehicles. Diesel-based pollution is extremely hazardous to the environment and human health. “The industry must promote alternative fuel technologies and fund R&D (research and development) for alternative fuels,” he said.

E20 compatible vehicles, according to the minister, should be on the road as soon as possible. E20 is a mixture of 20% ethanol and 80% gasoline.

“This will be immensely helpful in cutting our import bill and giving a direct benefit to our farmers, without a compromise on the environment,” he said.

“Flex engines are already in use in the United States, Brazil, and Canada,” Gadkari said. “A few of these brands are successfully operating in India,” he added. Oil ministry officials have informed the minister that ethanol pumps will soon be installed in every district of the country, according to the minister’s statement.

“The technology is readily available, and it is just a matter of time to take that leap which will transform the transport landscape of India forever,” Gadkari noted.

A government report, he said, outlines a 20 percent ethanol blend in gasoline (E20) by 2025.

For the sake of vehicle and rider safety, the minister said that the industry must also take on a social responsibility to ensure that retro-reflective tapes, hand-rails, automatic helmet sensing-cum-reminder systems, and stand detection systems are installed on all segments of vehicles.

According to him, his ministry is also looking into the possibility of hydrogen fuel cell cars (HFCVs).

“In the future, green-hydrogen will be the primary fuel source. Finding appropriate technologies for its production, transportation and storage will be crucial to our success “In India, he said, low-cost electrolyzers will be a game-changer.

According to him, India’s vehicles must meet international standards in terms of crash safety, body design and corporate average fuel efficiency (CAF) norms in order for them to be competitive. For passenger safety and comfort, he said, it’s also important to improve the quality of bus bodies.

Driver fatigue is a major factor in accidents involving heavy-duty vehicles that operate on long routes if they are equipped with high-tech and air-conditioning cabins, he said. Gadkari noted that “our exports to the international market have risen.”

He added that indigenous battery technologies for electric vehicles must be developed at a low cost (EVs). This means that the government is strongly encouraging the use of renewable energy-based charging mechanisms for EVs, he said.

Ethanol, methanol, bio-diesel, bio-CNG, LNG, electric and green-hydrogen fuel cell technology, Gadkari said, are being promoted by the government to reduce dependence on petrol and diesel.