BMTC to lease, notbuy electric buses

BMTC to lease, notbuy electric buses

BMTC to lease, notbuy electric buses

The BMTC has decided to lease, and not buy, the 150 electric buses on its immediate wish list.

Managing director V Ponnuraj said, "We will call for tenders soon."

In March 2014, the BMTC got an electric bus from Chinese company BYD for trial. The bus ran about 70 km a day, and could go 170 km on a single charge.

The BMTC has now invited more companies for trials.

"In fact, we have invited all players. The Tatas have conveyed their interest. We expect more companies to take part in the trials," Ponnuraj told DH.

A senior BMTC official said tenders would be called in about a month.

"We felt the cost of buying was high, and revised the plan. The idea behind leasing is to learn the economics of electric buses," he said.

"The Centre provides subsidies, but we have to think twice before making such purchases. We can buy three or four regular buses or an airconditioned Volvo for Rs 1 crore," the official said.

On those buses, the BMTC knows the returns.

"But there is much we don't know about electric vehicles," the official explained.

Under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicle scheme, the Centre extends a subsidy of 30% on the cost of buying buses.

"We have written to the Centre on leasing. They want to see the proposal," he said.

Successive state governments have reduced the subsidy for BMTC, and that is putting additional pressure on the operations, he said.

The state government recently announced funding for 3,000 buses, half of which will be leased.

The recent waiver of vehicle tax for public transport vehicles has saved Rs 120 crore for the corporation.

The prices of electric buses have come down over the past three years, thanks to foreign companies tying up with Indian partners.

Earlier this month, Mumbai bought six buses at Rs 1.61 crore each, a top official told DH.


Price of an e-bus

In 2014: Rs 3 crore
Now: Rs 1.6 crore

(Source: Top BMTC official)