Promoting EV won't hit conventional market: Geete

File photo for representation.

The push for Electric Vehicles (EV) does not mean the Centre will discourage the existing diesel and petrol vehicle manufacturing sector, Union Minister of Heavy Industry and Public Sector Enterprises Anant G Geete said on Thursday.

He spoke at the Third Catalyst Conference on Growth in E-Vehicle Industry, a preliminary event for the three-day EV EXPO organised at Chandragupta Maurya Playground in Jayanagar which will begin from Friday.

Geete said there was a misconception that the Centre will gradually sideline conventional vehicle manufacturers.

"The automobile industry has attracted the largest investment in India and has been a driver of the country's growth. I want to reassure them that the government knows that in this shift towards electric vehicles, we will take them along," the minister said.

Geete said that Bengaluru had embraced electric vehicles faster than other cities and there was a need to involve young entrepreneurs and startups to encourage further growth.

"The shift to EV will not happen without changing the mindset of the people and the challenge can be faced only with involvement of youth," he said.

No 2030 deadline

The minister once again sought to clarify that he has not set a 2030 deadline or any time frame for shifting to electric vehicles. "There has been no such announcement by my ministry. We are only trying to encourage faster growth of the EV industry by pitching 2030 as a vision," he said.

He noted that the shift to EV must be a comprehensive one, and must not turn India from crude-importing country to battery-importing country. "Right now, the best minds on Lithium-Ion battery are with China. We need to change this by becoming experts and innovators ourselves. This is essential for making affordable EVs," he said.

Mahesh Babu, CEO of Mahindra Electric Mobility, said with 70 crore of India's population expected to live in its cities by 2030, it was important to ensure that mobility in cities is carbon free.

"Carbon emission will be a major challenge when it comes to making our cities livable and sustainable. In India, it will be two and three-wheeler sector which can lead the growth of EVs. However, EV growth requires a complete ecosystem involving power generation, storage and charging points," he said.

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Promoting EV won't hit conventional market: Geete

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