High costs put brakes on BMTC's green bus plans

High costs put brakes on BMTC's green bus plans

Uncertainty looms over procurement of India’s first zero-emission, no-pollution electric bus by BMTC.

The three-month free trial period of the first such bus got over on June 1.

But officials of the BMTC are in a fix on whether to procure electric buses or not even as these vehicles promise to contribute towards reducing air pollution.

BMTC officials say that the bus stopped operations after June 1 as per the agreement for a free trial period and the response of commuters has been satisfactory.

However, whether BMTC will buy such buses on its own is a decision which is still to be taken as the cost proposed by the Chinese manufacturer is substantially higher.

Officials in BMTC say that the bus costs a whopping Rs 3 crore, which is very expensive even though the operation cost is relatively less.

While a Volvo bus costs about Rs 80 lakh to Rs 90 lakh, officials are in a dilemma over buying the electric bus at such a huge cost.

They say three luxury buses can be purchased at the price of one electric bus. Moreover, officials maintain that the depreciation cost of the bus is more than the savings on fuel, which does not help in the long run.

‘Too early to say’

A senior official of BMTC said that it is too early to say at this point as to how long the batteries of the bus will last in the long run as these are highly prone to wear and tear.

They are not only expensive, but also indispensable for the buses to run.
However, the officials do not rule out the possibility of procuring similar electric buses in future, provided the manufacturer is willing to give the buses on per km rental basis.

Negotiation on

BMTC officials say that negotiations are on with the company representatives to procure 10 buses on per km rental basis. Power consumption of the buses will be taken care of by BMTC and they will get charged at its workshop. But they will still belong to the company and it will have to maintain them.

Trail done in February

The Rs 2.7-crore electric bus, which started its trial on February 28, was being operated on the Kempegowda Bus Station-Kadugodi and KBS-ITPL routes.
The 12-metre-long air-conditioned bus accommodates 32 people. This includes the driver and a wheelchair occupant. The bus will be able to  travel 250 km on a single charge of four-six hours.

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