Mumbai’s Brihan-Mumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) system is adding six battery-operated buses to its current fleet. Each of these buses is worth Rs 1.5 crore, which is three times the cost of a standard bus. The electric buses will be procured after a grant of Rs 10 crore from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The approval for the use of the grant was passed last week and the manufacturing will be undertaken by two companies, AV Motors and Impact Automotive Solutions Limited.
Sanjay Bhagwat, Additional General Manager, BEST, said, “Four buses from AV Motors and 2 from Impact will be procured by the undertaking after two buses are supplied to the undertaking in January on a trial basis. The other four buses will be made available by the manufacturers after receiving positive feedback on the first two.”
Talking about the purpose behind the new procurement, Mr. Bhagwat said that the buses will positively help in reducing pollution levels in the metro city.
The 34-seater electric buses will be manufactured at a starting price of Rs 1.8 crore. When fully charged, the vehicles can run up to seven hours at a stretch. According to Kedar Hombalkar, a BEST committee member, says that the efficiency of the buses on the road can only be judged by the trial performance. Once the buses start operating, multiple charging points will be built in depots.
Currently, an ordinary bus costs Rs 50 lakh while an air-conditioned bus costs Rs 1 crore. Although BEST is facing a loss of more than Rs 1,000 crore, the undertaking is still keeping the Rs 1.5 crore cost factor of these electric buses aside, considering its positive impact on the environment. Committee members have also requested the government to minimize taxes for running the electric buses which can run up to huge sums.
Already very popular abroad, electric buses can been seen plying in Delhi, Rajkot and Manali in India. The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation will also be adding 150 electric buses to its fleet soon.