Earlier this month, India witnessed the launch of its first fuel cell-powered bus as automobile manufacturers, in collaboration with government entities, are pushing for clean transportation options due to increased pollution and high petroleum import bill.
India’s largest fuel retailer, Indian Oil Corporation Limited, recently launched the country’s first-ever hydrogen fuel cell-based bus in capital New Delhi. The bus has been designed and manufactured by Tata Motors, the company that also owns the Jaguar and Land Rover brands.
The Tata Starbus has been developed by the automaker in collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The Tata Starbus Fuel Cell has a hydrogen fuel cell power system that makes 114 hp and an electric propulsion motor that makes 250 hp. The total torque is 1050 Nm at 800 rpm. The bus can seat 30 passengers, reports Financial Express, an Indian business daily.
The bus will be used for demonstration trials in the national capital. The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) have provided partial financial support to the project.
Fuel cell-powered vehicles are seen by many as an apt solution to the growing problem of pollution in India, especially the large metropolitan areas. Water and heat are the only byproducts of the fuel cell-powered vehicle. Others have highlighted numerous environmental and other problems with fuel cell powered transportation.
India has stated intentions to make a shift towards non fossil fuel-based vehicles in the future. The federal government, as well as several state governments, will soon start using around 20,000 electric vehicles.
Fuel retailers in India are thus looking to enter the clean transportation business in order to preserve their revenue. The Tata Starbus will be refueled at a hydrogen station designed by the research and development arm of the IOC. The oil company is also reportedly working on development of a variety of battery technologies, including lithium-ion, lead acid, and others.