Mumbai To Get Electric Buses Soon

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Cities in India continue to take important initiatives to revamp the traditional polluting transportation systems. The latest initiative is to include electric buses in the public transportation fleet.

Mumbai bus transportation authority BEST has announced plans to convert all CNG and diesel-powered buses into electric buses. The authority has secured a grant of Rs 10 crore (US$1.5 million) for this initiative.

Mumbai is the largest Indian city in terms of population, and is infamous for traffic jams and poor road infrastructure. Due to increasing population pressure and lack of space to expand city infrastructure, promoting public transport is the only option for many Indian cities. However, this cannot be at the expense of air quality.

As a result, Indian cities are looking at new and innovative measures to tackle these problems. Capital city New Delhi has adopted the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme made famous during the Beijing Olympics 2008. Delhi first implemented the rationing scheme in January this year, and again during the second half of April 2016.

Delhi has also experimented with electric buses. The Delhi Transportation Corporation is currently operating one electric bus on pilot basis. The Delhi government will assess if more buses can be included in the existing fleet.

India still lacks the basic infrastructure for electric vehicles, and the first electric bus was pressed into service only in 2014. Bangalore acquired a bus from China-based BYD and launched two years back amidst positive response from commuters.

Despite the challenges for electric vehicles, the Indian government has announced an extremely ambitious target to become a ‘100% electric vehicle nation’ by 2030.

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Saurabh has 1037 posts and counting. See all posts by Saurabh

14 thoughts on “Mumbai To Get Electric Buses Soon

  • “announced extremely an ambitious” … they must have been shouting? 🙂

  • How serious is this? The amount of money announced ($1.5 million) is chickenfeed for a major metropolis. Converting existing diesel and gas buses to electric traction in a DIY operation in a garage looks a ticket to technical failure. I read this as displacement activity before the big strategic decision is taken, costing real money. 500 buses at $250,000 = $125 million. Just a ballpark figure, but the right ballpark.

    • I was confused by the 1.5million price tag as well. Perhaps this is a typo or this money is simply to study the project? In the US that buys barely what? 3 electric buses?

      • At that price we INDIAN’s also buy three electric buses only. BYD bus costs INR27million each. Budget INR100million.

    • I wonder how the lifetime costs compare not including the detrimental effects of polluting the air where so many are trying to breathe? Maybe this is just a pilot?

    • Perhaps the project is being rolled in by phases and this $1.5mn is the budget for 1st phase/pilot. Also, Mumbai is not as dependent on bus as it is on railway system which is massive.

    • Actually in announcment was:
      “We plan to convert some of our existing buses (CNG Diesel) into electric vehicles”, so $1.5M is a good starting poing to make some test installs.

    • Information fell out of the dogcart along the way….

      “Around 25 to 30 fully electricrun buses may hit the roads in coming months.

      “We plan to convert some of our existing buses (CNG Diesel) into electric vehicles and for this we have already received a special grant of Rs 10 crore from the civic corporation,” said BEST general manager Jagdish Patil. He stated that apart from the BEST’s own initiative, the Central government has also launched a scheme promoting environmental-friendly buses. “We are sending five old buses to the Centre to be converted to electric variants,” he said. The conversion by government of India will be free of cost.

      Sources said that it normally used to cost around Rs 65 lakh for each conversion (from diesel or CNG to electric) in the past. But now the costs have reduced to half – around Rs 30 to Rs 35 lakh.”

      • “Information fell out of the dogcart along the way”…

        Thank you for the better explanation for this announcement. I think the dogcart expression predates me =) but it sounds like an interesting story lol.

      • Thanks for that, Bob.

        if I understand the conversion properly, 30 lakh would be about $45,000 US, which is pretty darn cheap compared to the cost of a new bus in any developed country. Of course the cost of the labour required would be considerably less in India than Australia or Europe. Heck, it’s even cheaper than in the US.

        • There’s a company in California that is/was doing school bus conversions. Taking buses that had good quality bodies but tired engines/drive trains and converting them to electrics. I need to see if I can find an update on them.

          That would seem to make sense, if the body was in good shape. Pull the ICE gear, bolt in some batteries and a drive motor. When the body wears out put the batteries/motor in a different body if they still have usable life.
          Their math for cost recovery was attractive. And school buses generally don’t need much range. Routes are designed so that students don’t have to spend long times on the bus, if possible.

  • It seems like the solar electric ELF from Organic Transit would be a perfect vehicle for congested Indian cities. It could be mass produced, and much cheaper than a car to own and operate. It would require no gas and clean the air in Indian cities. Solutions exist unfortunately ignorant allegiance to failed car centric policies prevents solutions from being implemented.

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