Nagpur today earned the qualification of becoming the nation’s first city with the electric fleet of 200 electric vehicles, including taxis, buses, e-rickshaw and autos.

“Promoting electric vehicles is our priority. We want electric buses, autorickshaws and other vehicles to ply in the country. We are engaged in initial talks with SoftBank for loans at low-interest rate for a green project. We want to introduce 2 lakh electric buses for public transport,” Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said today.

The parliamentarian from Nagpur constituency was addressing the media here before propelling a pilot project for 200 electric vehicles, including 100 of Mahindra’s new e20 plus.

With this, Maharashtra has become the principal state to provide different incentives to e-taxis.

“Electric mass mobility ecosystem in Nagpur will bring about a transformational change in the automotive and transportation landscape in the country,” Gadkari said after the launch.

“To promote electric fleet, we have waived VAT, road tax, and registration for all electric vehicles in the state, and we look forward to building Maharashtra as a model state for others to emulate in future,” said Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis.

The pilot project here will commence with a 200-in number fleet, including 100 of Mahindra’s new e2o Plus vehicles. The rest will comprise of vehicles sourced from other OEMs, including Tata Motors, Kinetic, BYD and TVS, among others.

Taxi aggregator Ola has already invested upwards of Rs 50 crore towards EVs and charging infrastructure, beginning with 50 plus charging focuses crosswise over four strategic areas in Nagpur.

Gadkari said the target is to reduce the ticket fare of public transport by 50 per cent in the country and charging these vehicles will not be an issue as charging stations are being set up.

The size of the automobile industry, which is at Rs 4.5 lakh crore, is estimated to grow to Rs 25 lakh crore and stress should be laid on promoting environment-friendly vehicles that cause minimum pollution, he suggested.

With a mean to promote eco-friendly vehicles, the government had launched the FAME India scheme in 2015 offering incentives on electric and half vehicles of up to Rs 29,000 for bikes and Rs 1.38 lakh for autos.