NITI Aayog, the government appointed think-tank responsible for the push towards Electric Vehicles in India has just released their Draft Concession Agreement for Public-Private-Partnership in Operation and Maintenance of Electric Buses in cities (OPEX Model). The Draft looks to add electric buses to the state by implementing a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model to quickly allow State Transport Authorities to bring Electric buses to the roads. Through this model, the state will look to private investors to procure these electric buses at concessionary rates. In this model, the private investor will also be required to incur the expenses of the Operation & Maintenance (O&M) that will include charging infrastructure.
The model ha as provision that the State Transport Authorities will then pay the private investors for these buses on a per kilometer. This should allow for both parties to get returns while keeping the CapEx expenses on state authorities as minimum as possible. Once the deal is in place however, these electric buses will be even more technologically advanced than ever. The customer can not only pay for his travel by cash, but also included in the draft is the provision for a prepaid travel card, similar to metro travel cards. The draft even has provision for timely arrival with an expected 95% arrival within 1 min of the arrival time. The buses will be required to meet "Bus System Disabled Persons' Protection Policy (DPPP) which sets out full arrangements for passengers with disabilities. Which will be supplied in a range of formats (large print, Braille and audio), available from their Customer Service Centre. However, interestingly the draft does not contain any references to what kind of concessions will be given to the private investors on the Electric Vehicles. We contacted NITI Aayog for clarity on why it has not been included but as of now, they have declined to respond.
As of now, it has been estimated that India has a total population of 1.5 lakh electric vehicles which amount to less than 1 per cent of all vehicles on the road. Although this number is expected to decrease drastically. Estimations suggest that this number will go up to 5 percent in the next five years. At present, the NITI Aayog is also planning to enforce a percentage quota for EVs in STU fleets to ensure accelerated growth.