Kerala floats e-bus tenders, eyes Centre’s subsidy

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Published: May 25, 2019 7:10:51 AM

The new stipulation is that the bidder should guarantee that the battery-powered e-bus will run for 250 km in a single charge and the mileage should be a minimum of 1.5 kWh/km.

Starting afresh, KSRTC has applied for the new FAME-2 scheme, announced in May. (Representational Image)

After Goa and Delhi, Kerala government has joined the race to dip from Centre’s `4,500-crore FAME-2 ( Faster Adoption & Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles) subsidy pool. The state’s public transport entity KSRTC has floated tenders to lease 1,500 electric buses for 10 years. Earlier, Kerala had started e-bus service but failed to sustain the lease rate of `43.20 per km. “Once the central subsidy is in place, this rent rate can be tightbelted to a rate below `30 per km, making the e-bus commercially viable,” MP Dinesh, MD, KSRTC told FE.

The state transport PSU had not gone for the Centre’s subsidy during its first tryst with e-bus. FAME-1 was wound up by the time KSRTC got around applying for it. Ten e-buses, leased from Mahavoyage, are currently idling in KSRTC stables, after they bled the ailing state PSU by incurring the loss of `1 lakh per day. With battery running out often, the state’s e-bus experiment was hardly successful, said R Sasidharan, secretary of transport union.

Starting afresh, KSRTC has applied for the new FAME-2 scheme, announced in May. Wet leasing a bus would cost `2 crore, but the FAME-2 subsidy would pitch in Rs 60 lakh per bus.The Kerala government is committed to roll out one million electric vehicles on the road by 2022.

This time, KSRTC has tightened its tender norms. The new stipulation is that the bidder should guarantee that the battery-powered e-bus will run for 250 km in a single charge and the mileage should be a minimum of 1.5 kWh/km.

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