The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) introduced the country’s first electric zero-emission bus in the city on Thursday.
Although the bus has been in Bangalore for over a month now, it was officially launched by Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy after getting the required permissions from the Transport Department.
The bus will run on a trial basis for the next three months. During this time, it will operate along various routes, beginning with one from Majestic to Kadugodi that is likely to cost `80.
Plans are also afoot to run the bus along the airport routes. The charging point for the bus is at the Volvo depot at Majestic.
“We will study whether the bus is economical and if it can function efficiently in the city. When the battery is fully charged (six hours), the bus can run for about 250 km, which is ideal for BMTC. However, this needs to be tested. We also need to see how it fares on various roads in the city and which routes are best suited to operate the bus,” said BMTC managing director Anjum Parvez.
Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy said that though the bus is expensive, it is likely to be a good deal as a long-term investment.
“The bus costs about `2.7 crore and this is expensive. But this is one bus in the entire country. Once the demand for the bus goes up and more people express interest in purchasing it, the rates are likely to come down. Moreover, the research and development wings of various bus manufacturers are working on this and it is some only time before the initial cost of the bus is reduced,” he said.
When asked if the state government would be willing to share the cost or offer subsidies, Reddy said, “We will consider various options if the bus is found to be suitable for the city. At present, it is on a three-month trial and following this, a decision will be taken on whether or not to purchase the bus,” he said. He added that what was important was that pollution levels would be brought down by using electric buses, hybrid or CNG-operated buses. The bus, manufactured by Build Your Dreams (BYD), was brought to India by Utopia Pvt Ltd. At least 5,000 such buses are operational in countries such as the United States, Netherlands, Switzerland and some European countries.
No oil required
Costs Rs 2.7 crore (Volvo Rs 88 lakh)
Fare from Majestic to Kadugodi - Rs 80
Runs for 250 km with 6 hours of charging