28 Oct 2016

CONTROVERSY AROUND ELECTRIC BUSES IN INDIAN KARNATAKA STATE

The local Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation's proposal to procure 150 electric buses at a cost of Rs 2.7 crore per vehicle has raised eyebrows in India. Experts say this amount is exorbitant as the price of a battery-driven bus at current market rate is not more than Rs 1.5 crore.

To tap into funds provided under the Centre's Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) Electric Vehicles (FAME), the BMTC board of directors recently gave in-principle approval to the proposal to purchase 150 electric buses to be run on a pilot basis.

The scheme offers incentives for electric vehicles as FAME, launched by the Union heavy industries ministry last year, and envisages not less than Rs 15,000-crore support. The BMTC's move to introduce battery-driven buses is in keeping with the concerns of environment protection and saving fossil fuel even as the transport corporation had trial launched the electric buses in February 2014. Although BMTC has not officially announced the cost, sources in the corporation said it's Rs.2.7 crore per bus.

According to MN Srihari, expert in urban infrastructure and transportation, electric buses could be procured at a much cheaper rate provided the government does due diligence and negotiates with manufacturers. “An electric bus can be bought at Rs 1 crore. There are many options including price negotiation with manufacturers and guiding them on customised specification of vehicles. I don't see why the buses are so expensive,“ said Srihari.



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