In a move to encourage environment-friendly public transportation, the Centre on Thursday sanctioned 400 electric buses for Karnataka.
BENGALURU: In a move to encourage environment-friendly public transportation, the Centre on Thursday sanctioned 400 electric buses for Karnataka.
Under the Phase II of Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India Scheme (FAME India Scheme), the Union ministry of heavy industries and public enterprises has sanctioned 5,595 electric buses to 64 cities for intra-city and inter-city operations across the country.
In Karnataka, Bengaluru will get 300 electric buses and 50 for Hubli-Dharwad. Similarly, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) will get 50 for inter-city operations which will be operated over short distances.
TOI carried a report on June 20 titled ‘After losing central subsidy, BMTC now wants to lease e-buses’. The article highlighted BMTC’s U-turn to induct buses under the lease model after losing the Centre’s Rs 75-crore subsidy for delay in inducting electric buses under Phase 1 of FAME. The BMTC’s earlier plan to induct 80 e-buses on lease basis under FAME-I was delayed after transport minister DC Thammanna insisted they be purchased. The BMTC board in February had scrapped the earlier tender to induct 80 e-buses on lease and opted for the purchasing model. However, 80 e-buses would have hit the city roads by now if the BMTC had gone ahead with its earlier proposal. These buses were supposed to start service in August 2018 itself. The BMTC was the first state-run bus corporation in the country to have conducted trial runs of e-buses as early as in 2014.
With 50 electric-buses, (KSRTC) will begin inter-city operations in an environmental friendly way. However, shortage of charging infrastructure, capacity of batteries and maintenance may pose a challenge. In another TOI report dated December 19, 2017 titled ‘KSRTC may operate e-bus on Mysuru-Bengaluru route’, a report of KSRTC’s move to operate electric buses in intercity route was brought to light. The state government announced 150 e-buses for Bengaluru and 50 for Mysuru in the 2017-18 budget and KSRTC is considering operating electric buses on inter-city routes from Mysuru to places like Bengaluru, Tumakuru, Hassan and Kolar. Electric buses can travel up to 200km when fully charged. Though initial cost of electric buses is high, maintenance and operational cost is much lower than diesel-run buses.
Maharashtra gets better deal
Maharashtra received the maximum number of electric buses, 725 , for intra city operations under the FAME India-II scheme followed by Uttar Pradesh (600 buses), Gujarat (550) and Tamil Nadu (525). “Each selected city/state transport undertakings are now required to initiate the procurement process in a time-bound manner for deployment of sanctioned electric buses on operational-cost basis” said a press release from Department of Heavy Industry. “These buses will run about 4 billion Km during their contract period and are expected to save cumulatively about 1.2 billion liters of fuel over the contract period, which will result into avoidance of 2.6 million tonnes of CO2 emission”, the release adds.