EKA unveils first electric bus

The EKA E9 was unveiled by  Aaditya Thackeray, minister of tourism, environment & protocol, government of Maharashtra and Mehta at the Pune Alternate Fuel Conclave.

EKA unveils first electric bus
Maharashtra’s minister of tourism, environment & protocol Aaditya Thackeray (centre) unveils EKA electric bus on Saturday.

Commercial electric vehicle company, EKA, a subsidiary of Pinnacle Industries, on Saturday unveiled its first electric bus E9. Sudhir Mehta, chairman of EKA and  Pinnacle Industries, said the company was talking to investors to raise `500 crore for the bus project. Pinnacle Industries has got approval to launch electric vehicle manufacturing under the production-linked incentives scheme and has committed to invest Rs 2,000 crore to set up EV manufacturing unit. Pinnacle has also received approval under the EV component manufacturing scheme of the government’s PLI policy.

Mehta said they had already invested `150 crore in designing and developing the bus. The company plans to make 1,000 buses in FY23 with indigenously developed components and technology.

The EKA E9 was unveiled by  Aaditya Thackeray, minister of tourism, environment & protocol, government of Maharashtra and Mehta at the Pune Alternate Fuel Conclave. EKA plans to manufacture a range of electric buses, fuel cell electric buses and alternative fuel vehicles. They will also have components assembly and manufacturing, EV traction systems, EV energy storage systems facilities soon.

The EKA E9 nine meter bus has gone for homologation to the Automotive Research Association of India and is expected to get the regulatory approval in 60 days. The bus would be commercially launched in four months. Manufacturing will initially be carried out at Pinnacle’s Pithampur facility. EKA is in talks with the Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh state government for setting up manufacturing facilities.

EKA will be making the bus indigenously with software, battery management system and other key technologies developed in-house. EKA  has built up a base of 100 vendors to supply components for the bus. The company will have a nine meter-33 seater city bus, a 12 m bus and an intercity coach.

According to Mehta, the  government sector currently accounts for 95% of the electric bus sales but this would change with more private companies looking to acquire electric buses for their fleet. While the capital cost of  the electric buses are higher, customers can reach break even point in three years as operating costs were lower with a low total cost of ownership compared to conventional engine run buses.

The rise in fuel costs is expected to speed up transition to electric in the commercial vehicle segment, Mehta said.

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