19 Feb 2016

INDIA'S FIRST HYBRID BUSES ON MUMBAI ROADS

Tata Motors has concluded an agreement with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority for the supply of around 25 such vehicles. The Starbus Hybrid bus, which was unveiled at the Auto Expo in Delhi earlier, will run in and around the business district's Bandra Kurla Complex in suburban Mumbai, said Ravindra Pisharody, executive director -- commercial vehicles at Tata Motors. The new bus is fully compliant with Bharat Stage IV emission standards.

The Tata Starbus Hybrid is a low-floor air-conditioned city bus that is ideal for intra-city transport. The company claims to have built the world's first commercial compressed natural gas hybrid with combined electric and CNG power. The manufacturer promises benefits of 25-30% better fuel efficiency, low operating costs, low noise levels and zero emissions with the hybrid passenger vehicle.

According to the company, India has yet to see a hybrid commercial passenger vehicle because of challenges such as absence of standards for hybrid vehicles under Central Motor Vehicles Rules. Moreover, the standard lithium ion batteries are expensive and cannot be easily recharged due to a lack of recharging stations.

The Tata Starbus Hybrid was last seen on roads during the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010. The company had given the buses to Delhi Transport Corporation to run on a trial basis.

Earlier, the south Indian city of Bengaluru contracted to use Tata's hybrid buses in the city, but nothing has come of it yet.

India's move to promote electric vehicles comes in the wake of a major crackdown on pollution. Air quality in New Delhi is notorious as the worst in the world. This rampant pollution has prompted the government to bring emissions regulations into line with global norms.



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