Electric bus on trial run, to ply on 8 Bengaluru routes

From October 13, a sleek 12-metre electric bus will ply on the city roads, as part of a trial run by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC). The bus will ply on eight routes (four in Central Business District and four on Outer Ring Road) with different terrains, to understand if the bus is compatible with Bengaluru’s roads.

The manufacturer, Olectra Greentech Limited, a Hyderabad-based company, is likely to be roped in for 300 electric buses under Fame-II scheme, if the trial goes well, and the company quotes a lower price.
Currently, the bus is placed at Majestic, and has a seating capacity of 37 though it can be extended to 60 seats. Sources in BMTC said that several vendors had approached the corporation, although they had no models for a test drive. “Very few companies have an existing electric model that we can test.

Earlier, manufacturers would give us the specifications of the vehicle, we would fix a price and the vehicle would be manufactured. But we wanted to test the battery capacity, comfort level, seating modifications etc,” said K Santosh Babu, Director (Information & Technology), BMTC. The bus is likely to be seen in Majestic, City Market and surrounding areas, Ring Road and airport route.

The trial run will go on for a month, and sandbags will be used as passenger weight for the first few days. Upon completion, tenders will be finalised by the end of the month. Currently, the manufacturer is quoting Rs 89/km, compared to the existing Rs 43/km for diesel buses and Rs 69/km for AC buses. The corporation hopes to bring down the quote.

In addition, the 1,500 BS6 engine buses were approved in last year’s budget, and the government could see only 643 buses procured by the corporation if the State’s Finance Department gives the thumbs-up. Last month, Transport Minister and DyCM Laxman Savadi had sought restructuring and increasing subsidy under Fame-II to Rs 1 crore per bus for the BMTC. This is to ensure that the Gross Cost Contract (GCC) price quote comes down as close to the diesel non-AC bus costs as possible. The minister had written to Central minister Prakash Keshav Javadekar, who is also Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.

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