Tata Motors plans test runs for its 9-meter and 12-meter electric buses across the country to generate interest among the State transport corporations, even as it urges government to pay higher subsidy on electric vehicles compared with hybrid vehicles under the upcoming electric vehicle policy. “We have already started test runs of our 9-meter electric vehicles in the state of Himachal Pradesh, and it is our intent to make a number of these vehicles available all across the country to generate interest,” Ravindra Pisharody, executive director, commercial vehicles of Tata Motors said. Tenders have already been floated by Pune city for 100 buses, BEST for 6 buses, and similarly by Himachal Road Transport Corporation that the company plans to participate in.
Tata Motors believes that electric buses are imminently suitable for city transportation although it is still not sure if the users would be ready to pay higher prices for tickets. “We have our supply strategy in place and we are also working with the government to announce the policy on electric vehicles. We have exhorted the government that the subsidy for electric vehicles should be much higher than what is given for hybrid diesel and CNG vehicles. Besides, it should not be on case to case basis. Once the policy is announced the state transport authorities should be emboldened to order higher number of vehicles,” Pisharody said.
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Under the Hybrid Vehicle Policy a diesel hybrid vehicle gets a R61 lakh subsidy, while the CNG hybrid gets R66 lakh subsidy. The industry has demanded a much higher subsidy for electric vehicles. On January 25, Tata Motors launched two electric buses — one stretching 9 meters and the other, 12 meters in the ultra-range, and a 12-meter hybrid with the Starbus badge.
These buses are priced between R1.6 crore and R2 crore. The company also showcased a 12-meter LNG bus and unveiled the country’s first fuel cell bus, along with last-mile electric vehicle solutions like the Super Ace,Magic Iris and Magic EV. “The company plans to deliver 25 hybrid buses to MMRDA in Mumbai in the next 30-45 days,” Pisharody said.