The Union government is working towards bringing e-cars, e-trucks, e-buses, e-bikes, and also simultaneously working on building appropriate infrastructure like charging stations around the country for these vehicles, said Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari here on Friday.

At the inauguration of the fifth Electric Vehicle Expo at Pragati Maidan, Gadkari said the advent of electric vehicles, especially e-rickshaws, will benefit at several levels. “Not only will it help cut down the consumption of petrol and diesel, but will also help curb pollutants in the air,” Gadkari said.

The minister said that, in future people will be able to recharge their vehicles in the comfort of their homes.

The three-day expo, which will continue till 24 December, will showcase the latest electric vehicles to be introduced in the market.

Given the extremely poor air quality in the Delhi-NCR region, e-rickshaws are definitely the need of the hour. E-rickshaws will help cycle rickshaw pullers to make the switch to a more comfortable life. This will not only help improve their overall health but also increase their earnings, as these cycle rickshaw pullers are affected doubly by the prevailing air pollution around them,” said Gadkari.

He said all the e-rickshaws of the future will have solar panels on their roof, thus making it easier for the drivers to charge their vehicles while driving, instead of spending hours getting their vehicles charged.

Recollecting the words of Deen Dayal Upadhaya and Ram Manohar Lohia, the Union minister said both these stalwarts had said that the cycle rickshaw is a symbol of servitude and till it is in use, we can never call ourselves a truly free people.

“Ram Manohar Lohia had refused to ever get on a cycle rickshaw as he felt it was exploitative towards fellow humans,” he said.

While exhorting the manufacturers, Gadkari said, “This is an R&D based industry and will only make an impact if they consistently produce electric vehicles which are of the best quality, are cost effective and are durable”.

He said India has the capability to become the biggest producer, consumer and exporter of electric vehicles in the world. “This will also help generate as much as 2 crore jobs in the market,” added Gadkari.