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India Unveils Flexi-Fuel Strong Hybrid Electric Vehicle Pilot Project

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The Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, recently launched a pilot project offering flexi-fuel strong hybrid electric vehicles (FFV-SHEV) imported from Brazil. The vehicles can run on 20-100% blended ethanol, electric power, and 100% petrol. The project was launched by the government in collaboration with a private automotive manufacturer.

According to a press release, Gadkari said that a 6% to 8% increase in agricultural growth rate is necessary for AtmaNirbhar Bharat, the current government’s mission to be self-reliant. He emphasised the importance of converting surplus food grain and sugar into ethanol to boost the rural economy. The Minister noted that the success of the pilot project will create an ecosystem of electric vehicles and make India a global leader in the manufacture of these vehicles. Such technologies are innovative, revolutionary, sustainable, cost-effective, and energy-efficient, and will completely transform the transportation sector, he claimed. The initiative is the manufacturer’s first step in creating as well as promoting ethanol, which is a domestic energy source that is carbon neutral.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also signed between the company and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore. As per the agreement, the collected data will be shared with IISc for conducting a deeper study about the well-to-wheel carbon emissions of FFV / FFV-SHEV in the Indian context.

Reports have said that India achieved 10% ethanol blending five months ahead of schedule. Going forward, the implementation of 20% ethanol blending in petrol by 2025-26. It will help in reducing about 86 million barrels of gasoline. It is estimated that the initiative will also aid in forex savings of INR30,000 (US$364).

India pledged to reduce carbon emissions intensity by 45% by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2070. In July, under phase II of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME-India) scheme, the Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI) sanctioned 2,877 EV charging stations in 68 cities across 25 states. As of July, 1,576 charging stations were sanctioned across 9 expressways and 16 highways.

FAME was launched in 2015 to improve the infrastructure required for the large-scale use of EVs. Phase II is the current phase and will last five years. It began in April 2019. Around US$ 125.3 million has been allocated to develop charging infrastructure under phase II. As OpenGov Asia reported, as of July, under phase II, 470,000 EVs have been supported through demand incentives. Further, MHI has sanctioned 6,315 e-buses to 65 cities and state government entities for intracity and intercity operations across 26 states and union territories.

Furthermore, earlier this year, the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) launched the Accelerated e-Mobility Revolution for India’s Transportation (E-AMRIT) mobile application to raise awareness about electric mobility in India. It offers users key information and engagement tools that enable them to assess the benefits of electric vehicles, determine savings, and receive information on developments in the Indian electric vehicle market and industry. NITI Aayog also announced plans to launch a US$5 billion fund to support the adoption of EVs by reducing the high upfront capital expenditure for EV ownership.

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