Electric buses and vehicles are widely gaining market across the globe. Due to the worsening situation of air pollution in bigger metro cities, electric mobility has become necessary to reduce the impact of transportation on the environment and climate change.
Electric Buses: The Government and other organizations have taken certain initiatives.
National Electric Mobility Mission Plan– The Government of India launched the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020 in 2013. It aims to achieve national fuel security by promoting hybrid and electric vehicles in the country.
The Ministry of Urban Development launched the Green Urban Transport Scheme (GUTS) with the aim to reduce carbon emissions from public transport vehicles in the country. The central government approved 5,595 e-buses in 64 cities under FAME. Department of Heavy Industry formulated a Scheme viz. Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) Scheme in the year 2015 to promote the manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicle technology and to ensure sustainable growth of the same.
The cabinet had given its approval to allow the Transport department to ask the prospective bidders to bring the buses with CCTV, Automatic Vehicle Tracking System (AVTS), panic buttons and panic alarms, as per the specification finalized by the government.
The first successful electric bus (e-bus) model for public transport in India is on the steep and scenic Manali-Rohtang route. Though operable only during the summer months when the snow clears, the Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) had 50 more runnings in Shimla, launched the country’s first commercial e-bus operation on September 1, 2017. Uttar Pradesh also flagged off Tata Ultra Urban Electric buses earlier this year.
Recently Gujarat state has also procured Ashok Leyland Electric buses.
Electric Bus Manufacturers in India: Electric bus manufacturers like Ashok Leyland, Tata Motors, JBM-Solaris, BYD, Eicher & PMI-Foton are all working with various state governments to electrify our public transport. Ashok Leyland’s swappable technology of replacing the battery on the go also attracted a lot of attention since charging time and vehicle range are of the utmost importance when it comes to electric buses in India.
The Reason for Switching to E-Buses is Clear Enough. The reduction in fossil fuel use and air pollution. But the question is how will the batteries perform in high summer temperatures of over 40 degrees?
The other challenge lies in the capital cost of switching to e-buses. Electric bus price ranges from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore, three times that of CNG buses, plus the cost of creating new infrastructure like charging stations and managing the operation of these buses. Then there is the question of reliability, longevity, and safety of the battery technology and the costs of creating the manufacturing infrastructure for the same in India.