BMTC to charge forward with first electric bus

BMTC to charge forward with first electric bus

Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation's (BMTC)tryst with the first-ever electric bus is about to begin by next week.

According to BMTC officials, the electric bus is being registered at the regional transport office and will mostly be used on one of the busiest routes in the City.

“We hope to see how long the bus can operate on fully charged battery. This can only be effectively gauged by using it on a busy route,” a BMTC official said.

 The bus is likely be put to public use after the minister for transport inaugurates it, as early as next week. But, BMTC officials were quick to admit that they have not purchased the bus, because of  lack of funds. The vehicle has been leased for a trial period of three months before the BMTC decides on buying it. “But passengers will have to buy tickets, just as they would in any other bus,” BMTC officials added.

Officials said that the bus fare is likely to be equivalent to that of Volvo buses currently being operated within the City limits.

High dividends

Although the electric bus comes with a heavy price tag, officials expressed confidence the vehicle is well-worth the price.

“The list of the vehicle’s assets are long — from the fact that it does not pollute, to its low operational and maintenance costs. The bus has been operating successfully in various European countries besides China, but is yet to be tested on Indian roads, officials added.

“ It takes six to seven hours for the battery to charge, but when fully charged, the vehicle has a range of about 270-280 kilometres. We will first check how well it does on City roads before we decide on inducting it into our fleet, as the initial cost of the bus has to be juxtaposed with the cost of operations,” a senior official of BMTC said.

The BMTC has set up a charging point at depot number  7 of the Kempe Gowda bus stand.  The electric bus costs about Rs 1.2 -1.4 crore and has recently undergone certification process. The vehicle is air-conditioned and has a seating capacity of 32.

It can reach speeds of up to 90 km per hour and can go from 0-50 km per hour in 20 seconds. The bus also has a seating provision for differently abled passengers.

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