BENGALURU: Cash-strapped BMTC may soon take the lease route to electric buses. With the cost of electric buses working out to at least three times more than that of AC buses, BMTC is looking to induct 150 buses into its fleet under the lease model.
According to the proposal, selected firms will have to purchase, maintain electric buses and set up infrastructure like charging points at depots. BMTC will share the revenue with selected firms. BMTC has also approached the Centre for financial assistance to procure 150 electric buses.
The Centre though is willing to offer funds only to purchase a few buses. So for the transport corporation, which is already struggling to pay its employees, a lease model works out cheaper. Apart from its initial steep capital cost, electric buses are pollution free and have far lesser operational and maintenance costs as opposed to diesel and CNG vehicles.
“We require nearly `3 crore to buy a single electric bus which is more than AC buses that cost nearly a crore per bus. In addition to this, we have to set up infrastructure, so a lease model will be more feasible. We will allocate routes to selected firms and may remunerate them on a per km basis,” said a senior BMTC official. “We are also waiting for financial assistance from the Centre to induct electric buses,” the official added.
BMTC’s move to induct electric buses is expected to reduce the pollution level in the city. At present, BMTC’s nearly 6,200 buses cover nearly 12 lakh km a day but there are several complaints against its aged diesel buses emitting heavy smoke.
In 2014, BMTC conducted a trial run of an electric bus on 335E route (Majestic to Kadugodi) and found that operational costs were only `7 per kilometre compared to `18 spent on a diesel bus per kilometre.
Last year, BMTC’s board also gave an in-principle clearance to induct 150 electric buses. The Centre is also providing subsidy to introduce zero-emission retrofitted electric buses under its flagship FAME India (faster adoption and manufacturing of hybrid and electric vehicles in India) scheme. The Centre will fund up to 75 per cent cost of electric buses under FAME project.
In May, Union minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari launched India’s first multi-modal electric vehicle project at Nagpur. This project brings e-buses, e-cabs, e-rickshaws and e-autos on a single platform -- Ola App -- which will enable commuters in Nagpur to book them. “We are prepared to facilitate manufacturers and other companies to take the Nagpur model to other parts of the country. E-vehicles need to be promoted in order to cut down the huge crude oil bill, reduce pollution and create cost effectiveness in transportation” said Gadkari.