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India is gearing up for a revolutionary transformation in its transportation landscape with the ambitious Vision 2030: PM Public Transport Sewa initiative. This groundbreaking plan aims to construct electric vehicle (EV)-)-ready highways on the extensive Golden Quadrilateral network, connecting major cities across the nation. The primary objective is to mitigate fuel consumption and vehicular emissions by fostering the adoption of electric intercity public transport. Over the next seven years, the government plans to develop 6,000 kilometers of highways equipped with charging infrastructure powered by green energy sources, setting the stage for a comprehensive EV ecosystem in India.
This initiative is expected to coincide with the introduction of electric buses, aiming to create an ecosystem for EVs in India. Discussions with stakeholders are underway to replace 800,000 old and polluting diesel buses with electric buses by 2030, with a focus on state transport undertakings, private operators, and school and employee transportation.
The construction of electric highways is anticipated to promote the development of charging infrastructure, encouraging more individuals to purchase electric cars for their daily commute. However, challenges such as limited range and inadequate charging infrastructure have affected the sales of electric cars in the country.
The Golden Quadrilateral, India’s longest highway network, is chosen for the construction of e-highways, which is expected to contribute significantly to reducing logistics costs and curbing emissions in line with COP28 guidelines.
Electric highways provide an energy-efficient solution by supplying electricity to moving vehicles through overhead power lines. Berlin, Germany, currently hosts the world’s lengthiest e-highway. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways plans to award contracts for electrified highways to private companies under a build, operate, and transfer (BOT) model. Existing highways may also be converted into e-highways with charging stations for electric buses to promote cost-effective green intercity public transportation.
Funding for this initiative will come from the central and state governments. Nitin Gadkari, the Minister for Road Transport and Highways, expressed the government’s interest in developing electric highways due to their economic viability. The power ministry may offer electricity at subsidized rates, while private investors could construct electric lines along designated routes. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) could implement an electric tariff system similar to tolls on highways.
As India takes bold strides towards a sustainable and eco-friendly future, the Vision 2030 initiative stands as a beacon of progress in the realm of electric mobility. The integration of EV-ready highways on the Golden Quadrilateral not only addresses environmental concerns but also aligns with global guidelines on emissions reduction. By concurrently introducing electric buses and facilitating a robust charging infrastructure, the government is paving the way for a significant shift in the transportation paradigm. This visionary endeavor holds the potential to not only revolutionize the way people commute but also to position India as a leader in sustainable transportation on the world stage. With concerted efforts from the public and private sectors, the journey towards electric highways becomes a transformative odyssey, steering India towards a greener and more sustainable future.