Written by Divija Vaish, a grade 12 student
India is the third-largest CO2 emitter in the world- not a fact we should be proud of. 22 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities are in India, with Delhi being the world’s most polluted capital. There are numerous ways of reducing pollution and fuel emission, one of them is increasing the usage of e-vehicles or electric vehicles (EVs).
PM Modi’s government has said that they are working towards a trial project in constructing electric highways in India. According to sources from the road ministry, the initial stretch of this highway should be completed by mid-2022. This project will first be rolled out on the 200km Delhi-Jaipur part of the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway, where 20% of the road will be electrified, and another road will be built where other EVs can recharge their batteries.
The government has been in talks with a Swedish firm since last year. In March this year, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Mr. Nitin Gadkari, said, “Buses and trucks can ply on this e-highway at a speed of 120 km per hour and will bring down the logistics cost by 70 percent.”
E-highways are a part of PM Modi and his government’s efforts to encourage people to switch to electric vehicles.
In the 2019 Union Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that people who buy EVs on a loan would have an income tax exemption of up to Rs, 1.5 lakh. Not only that but the GST rates were also reduced from 12% to 5%. The government has allocated Rs. 10, 000 crores via the FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles) scheme in 2019 for three years. Mr. Gadkari also said that “just like railways” he wishes to see “electric trucks on highways”.
Although the project is still in its initial stage, as per the reports, discussions to build an electric highway also got delayed due to the second COVID-19 wave. However, the focus still remains on building such a highway to reduce the carbon print. If the overhead cables are to be charged by solar energy and not electricity, then these e-highways will have near-zero carbon footprints and could play a massive role in reducing total carbon emissions.
Electrified roads of such kind have already opened. The first one opened in Sweden in 2018. The second one opened in Germany in 2019 on its motorway. It was roughly six miles long, south of Frankfurt, and recharged hybrid trucks on the go. The United States and the United Kingdom are both in the process of building electrified roads and highways, according to reports.