BENGALURU: Having trial-launched India’s first electric bus in February 2014, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation’s (BMTC’s) board, after much dilly-dallying over the proposal to procure electric buses citing high costs, has finally given its in-principle clearance to induct 150 electric buses.
With this, Bengaluru is likely to be the first city in the country to launch city bus transport operations using such a large fleet of electric buses.
BMTC managing director, Ekroop Caur, told Bangalore Mirror, “The board of the BMTC on Friday gave an in-principle clearance to induct the electric buses. Electric buses are the future of mass transit. We are not in a position to rely on fossil fuels in the long run. The electric buses are pollution-free and the maintenance and mechanical costs involved in operating these buses is very less compared to that of petro-diesel vehicles.”
In February 2014, the upfront cost of the electric bus launched in Bengaluru was then Rs 2.9 crore as compared to Rs 90 lakh for an air-conditioned bus; but the operational cost was estimated to be just Rs 7 per km as against Rs 18 per km incurred by a diesel bus.
Caur said as the buying cost involved is high “we are seeking financial aid from the Central government to induct the electric buses. Two years ago, when the first electric bus was started on trial runs, the cost was very high. Now the electric buses are being manufactured in the country and we hope that we will get electric buses at a competitive price. In the Western countries, petro-diesel buses are being replaced by electric buses; even China is inducting electric buses in large numbers,” she said.
She said there is a proposal to set up an exclusive depot for the electric buses with the required infrastructure, which would include battery rechargeable points and well-equipped workshops.
An Indian Institute of Science (IISc) study showed that each petro-diesel bus replaced by an electric bus was capable of preventing up to 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission annually.
In addition to the environmental benefit, the researchers calculated that the average daily profits of operating an electric bus was Rs 10,393 compared to Rs 5,692 for a diesel bus. The annual net profit calculated was Rs 37,93,445 (Rs 37 lakh) for an electric bus against Rs 20,74,733 (Rs 20 lakh) for a diesel bus.