HYDERABAD: The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) will procure 100 electric vehicles, 40 of which will hit the road in the city in six months. The 40 electric buses will replace the Pushpak buses that cater to airport passengers and are operated to the IT corridor of Mindspace, Hitec City, Financial District and Gachibowli areas.
The buses will be procured under the FAME-India Scheme (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and Electric Vehicles in India) being administered by the department of heavy industry of the Union ministry of heavy industries and public enterprises. The ministry allocated Rs 437 crore as subsidy to 11 cities under FAME India, for launching electric buses, taxis and three-wheelers.
Hyderabad is one of the nine big cities selected in December last year for implementing the scheme. However, the FAME India subsidy from the Centre will be only for 40 buses per city. TSRTC officials say that the rest of 60 electric buses can be acquired if the state government extends assistance. On May 9, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, after a meeting with BYD (Build Your Dreams) Auto Industries, a Chinese automobile manufacturer, had announced the procurement of 500 electric vehicles.
BYD’s interest in setting up a manufacturing unit in the state was welcomed by Chief Minister. “The operation and maintenance of the electric buses will be outsourced to the firm that buys the buses with central government assistance,” said a TSRTC official on the condition of anonymity.
“The bus drivers and maintenance units too will be handled by that firm. There will be no cost to be incurred by TSRTC at this stage but we will have to give the operating company certain routes and share the revenue. TSRTC will pay the operator on a kilometre-operated basis and will also pay the electricity distribution companies for power consumption. A lot of details such as how much TSRTC will pay and ticket fare rates are yet to be worked out,” the official added.
BYD is a major electric bus manufacturer in China and is the main contender for bagging the electric bus contract. When asked what sets the Chinese firms over Indian firms such as TATA and Leyland, which also sell electric buses, the TSRTC official said, “The BYD bus battery can be charged at the depot and can run for 300 to 400 km with a single charge. The India-made electric buses, at best, provide a 40 km run time and need charging points at various locations in the city. That is not practical nor feasible.” The other cities selected under FAME India are Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Jaipur, Mumbai, Lucknow, Indore and Kolkata. Two cities, Jammu and Guwahati were selected under a special category.