Tata Motors on Wednesday unveiled a portfolio of buses running on renewable energy alternatives ranging from fuel cells to full electric, LNG and hybrid. “While the policy for electric buses is not yet out, Tata Motors decided to take a leap of faith and launch the country’s first all electric bus,” Ravindra Pisharody, ED, Commercial Vehicles, Tata Motors said.
According to Pisharody, the electric buses costs between Rs 1.6 crore to Rs 2 crore and may not be bought by State Transport Undertakings, the target market, without government support.
Pisharody is hopeful that the government will step in to provide subsidy for faster adoption of the electric buses. He is hopeful of an announcement in Budget ’17.
“We do believe that the time has come for electric vehicles. To break out of the chicken and egg situation, the company has decided not to wait for the chicken and and we are starting with the egg and we will make these buses even if there is no order for it,” Pisharody said.
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Pisharody is optimistic about these electric business making a debut sometime in 2017-18 with leading metro cities taking to electric buses with the Smart City projects coming into play. A subsidy of around R1.5 crore would be needed for a R2 crore bus, he said.
A 20% support for buses is not enough, he said.
The cost of these electric buses would come down only if volumes pick up, he said. So till then without subsidy there will be no business case for the e-buses, he said. The government’s plan to create a charging infrastructure would also help. Pisharody was also hopeful of a dedicated policy for fully electric buses that will provide more clarity on the electric vehicle roadmap for OEMs as well as potential customers.
When it comes to electric buses there are no issues of BS IV or BS VI and would be advantageous as shift to BS VI involves major changes and redesign.
The company also launched the 12 meter hybrid bus for which it has already received a R50 crore order from MMRDA in Mumbai. These buses, are likely to be delivered in Q1FY17-18. The hybrid buses are in the R2 crore range depending on the specifications. Also showcased at the Pune plant was the first fuel cell bus and the first bus in the country to be powered by LNG.