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BMTC working on plan to buy 300 electric buses

A senior official said there is a plan to purchase 300 electric buses subject to the board’s approval.

, ET Bureau|
Jun 06, 2019, 11.37 AM IST
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Last year, the BMTC was on the verge of issuing a work order to private firm Olectra Greentech to supply 80 electric buses on lease.
BENGALURU: The ambiguity over the purchase of electric buses could end in a month’s time. The state-run Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) plans to purchase them outright, and it has listed the matter for discussion in the next board meeting, expected to take place in the 10 days.

A senior official said there is a plan to purchase 300 electric buses subject to the board’s approval.

“The exact number of electric buses to be purchased and the nature of funding will be discussed in the board meeting. We may either request funds from the state government or take a loan. The board will take the final decision,” BMTC chairman NA Haris, who is the MLA from Shantinagar, told ET.

Haris said the corporation is in talks with 5-6 companies that manufacture electric buses. “The BMTC got a good response from manufacturers when we had invited bids (expression of interest),” he said. BMTC managing director NV Prasad refused to share details of the plan to procure electric buses, including the new tender conditions, subsidy from the Union government, etc. “We will share the details only after the board approves our proposal. We have come up with a good plan,” he said.

Although the entry of electric buses into the Indian market is recent, several companies, including Ashok Leyland, Olectra Greentech, Tata and JBM Auto, have started manufacturing electric vehicles.

“Except for the battery component, we have the resources to manufacture electric buses. No company, however, has been able to develop battery on its own and it usually comes from countries such as Japan and China. The integration is being done here in India,” an electric bus manufacturer told ET. The manufacturer, who requested anonymity, said the cost of battery constitutes about 40% of the entire bus manufacturing cost. “The electric bus usually costs between Rs 2.5 crore and Rs 3.5 crore,” he said.

SUBSIDY LOST?
Last year, the BMTC was on the verge of issuing a work order to private firm Olectra Greentech to supply 80 electric buses on lease. The deal, however, was scrapped after the new JD(S) - Congress coalition government came to power in the state. The new government felt the previous deal was “manufacturer friendly”, but BMTC officials maintained that purchasing electric buses outright would be disastrous as it’s a new technology.

In the bargain, the BMTC lost a subsidy of Rs 70 crore from the central government under its Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric (FAME) Vehicles Scheme (Phase I). The transport utility, however, is unlikely to get a subsidy as the revised guidelines of FAME Phase II scheme insist on procuring electric buses through the PPP model instead of purchasing them.

Also Read

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CM to decide on BMTC’s 80 electric bus procurement

Auto Expo 2018: Ashok Leyland launches electric bus Circuit S

Ashok Leyland’s new electric bus may turn focus to battery swapping

Transport Ministry to seek Rs 5,000 crore for electric bus fleets, bus ports

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