2017-10-10
Bengaluru could be first Indian city to have electric buses for public transport

If all goes according to plan, Bengaluru could be the first city in India to have electric buses for public transport. The Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is readying tender documents to procure 150 electric buses.

“Electric buses are the future of transportation. Switching to electric buses from diesel would also bring down the cost of operations. We will float the tender shortly and expedite the process of selecting the supplier,“ BMTC managing director V Ponnuraj told ET.

The initial investment, however, is high. Each electric bus is likely to cost anywhere between Rs 2 and Rs 3 crore, depending on the size of the battery, which is the major cost component in each bus.

The cost, therefore, is 2-3 times more than that of a conventional bus that runs on diesel. However, when it comes to operating costs, electric buses are cheaper (Rs 10/km) than the diesel ones (Rs 15­23/km). The entire fleet of 6,400 buses in the BMTC runs on diesel.

The transport utility will get a part of the total capital investment in the 150 electric buses through a subsidy from the union government. The money would come through the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles scheme.

“We are expecting anywhere between Rs 85 lakh to Rs 1 crore as subsidy (per bus). The remaining will be borne by the corporation,“ Ponnuraj said. The tender document will invite those who can provide both buses and charging points.

This is not the first time the BMTC has talked about electric buses. The transport utility, after a three-month trial run (from Majestic to Kadugodi) in 2014, dropped the idea citing high costs.

Meanwhile, an Indian Institute of Science study which said that electric buses would generate 82% more prof its than conventional buses gave a thumbs-up to the idea.

“Every year, about 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission can also be cut for every diesel bus replaced by an electric bus,“ the report states.

In September this year, electric buses were launched in Himachal Pradesh for long-distance services. The BMTC's would be inside the city.

Pawan K Mulukutla, Head (Integrated Transport), WRI India, suggested that the BMTC prepare a roadmap before moving towards electric mobility. “That includes in-house capacity, technicalities and future plans,“ he said. “Does it make sense to buy 30 or 150 electric buses?“

Source- The Economic Times