Bengaluru plans to discontinue its entire fleet of electric buses in the next 5 years, even as plans to invest in electric buses continue in slow lane
In a move aimed at reducing the pollution caused due to old diesel buses and aligning the city’s transportation network to its roads system, Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka, G. Parameshwara recently confirmed that the state authorities will discontinue the use of all diesel buses over the next five years.
While opening the 8th edition of ‘Bus World India 2018’, an exhibition of buses at the international exhibition centre near Peenya, the deputy CM announced that the garden city will have electric buses included in the city’s public transport regulator, Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) fleet.
Companies including Tata Motors, Force Motors and Olectra (formerly Goldstone) showcased their latest passenger vehicles and innovations during the event. In February 2018, after the central government rolled out a subsidy for electric vehicles, the state authorities listed Hyderabad based electric bus maker Olectra Greentech to provide BMTC with 80 electric buses. Although the transport utility had planned to operate electric buses from October, it is yet to award the contract for want of government clearances.
A proposal from the BMTC to the state government is said to be stuck at the desk of transport minister DC Thammanna’s office. Government sources claim that the minister is yet to clear the proposal and is considering all the pros and cons before passing the orders. We understand that it is the sheer cost difference between diesel and new electric buses that is giving the minister cold feet, as the difference has been as high as 80-100%, depending on the configuration. Although, lower operating costs over the life cycle of the bus are supposed to make up for part of the gap.
“Over 70 lakh vehicles use Bengaluru roads every day and our roads were not built to take so much of traffic load. We require an efficient public transport system including buses. There is a proposal with our government to replace all buses with electric buses in about five years,” Parameshwara said.
However, with a fleet of 6,500 buses, all diesel powered, make the task of discontinuing all a daunting challenge. Bengaluru will possibly look to follow the progress in Delhi after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced his government’s approval of 1000 electric buses.