NITI Aayog, or the National Institution for Transforming India has pushed for a hybrid vehicle policy, pitching the methanol as the fuel for the future. The policy making body has is of the opinion that methanol. The recommendations are contrary to the Prime Minister's electric vehicle mission, which aims to encourage faster adoption. Methanol is a colourless liquid that burns cleaner than fossil fuels. It is also possible to produce synthetic methanol with low levels of carbon.
The Aayog suggests that electric vehicles are neither cost-effective nor sustainable in the long run. India does not have the expertise to make lithium-ion batteries and will have to rely heavily on China for its supply. Methanol, on the other hand is easy to source and is a far less polluting fuel than petrol / diesel. There are huge bio-resources to produce methanol as well.
An official from NITI Aayog said that if all vehicles move to lithium-ion batteries, the world will soon run out of basic resources. Hence, electric vehicles are not a sustainable solution. He also said that moving to electric vehicle will require setting up of charging infrastructure, which would add to the growing demand for electricity in the country. At present, a number of small towns have to put up with load shedding, due to scarcity of electricity.
VK Saraswat, member of NITI Aayog has chalked out a roadmap to reduce the oil import bill by $100 by year 2030. This, he says, will be achieved by extensive use of methanol for transportation as well as for cooking.