Kerala takes a step ahead to put electric mobility in vogue by roping in Olectra-BYD, a leading player in electric public transport system, to run its fleet of electric buses in the state.
Olectra-BYD has launched its first India-made luxury 7-metre long electric bus, eBuzz K6 LuXe, in Bengaluru.
The company has already deployed India’s first commercially run e-buses, which are at present operating under Himachal Roadways Corporation, and in Mumbai under Birhan Mumbai Electricity Supply and Transport Undertaking. Kerala State Road Transport Corporation has become the third state-run body to ply electric buses.
The buses will take pilgrims to Sabarimala in eBuzz K7 model buses, which has been successfully plying for over one year at a high altitude between Kullu-Manali-Rohtang Pass route in Himachal Pradesh. These buses have proved to be durable to run in all kind of terrains. It will now start its commercial operations in Kerala, N Naga Satyam, executive director, Olectra-BYD, said.
The buses are manufactured in India by Olectra Greentech (Formerly Goldstone Infratech) in a strategic tie-up with BYD Auto Industry of China, the world’s largest electric vehicle company.
The eBuzz K7 model buses, running in Himachal at an altitude of 13,000 feet and Mumbai for the past one year, is a 9-metre long air conditioned low-floor buses having a capacity of 32 passengers. The same model bus will run in Kerela to carry pilgrims.
According to Satyam, the lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery installed in the bus enables it to travel up to 250 kilometres in a single charge based on traffic conditions. The technologically-advanced eBuzz K7 has a regenerative braking system which enables the bus to recover part of the kinetic energy lost in braking. The high-power AC charging system enables the battery to get fully recharged in between 2-3 hours. It has electronically-controlled air suspension to ensure a comfortable travel. eBuzz K7 is also equipped to offer protection from short circuit, over temperature function and lightening to ensure a safe ride to the passengers.
Olectra-BYD will run ten buses in Kerala and is, at present, looking at commercially running in states like Karnataka, Delhi, Chandigarh, Goa and Gujarat with a 12-metre-long eBuzz K9 variant. “We have successfully completed trials in Bengaluru, Delhi, Chandigarh, Goa, and Rajkot,” Satyam said, adding Olectra’s eBuzz K6 model was the first Make in India electric bus which was exported to Nepal in June 2018.
Hyderabad-based Olectra Greentech, India’s largest manufacturer of composite insulators for power transmission and distribution network, ventured into electric bus manufacturing in 2015 and forms a JV with BYD Auto Industry of China. So far, the electric buses in India have completed more than 4,00,000 kms on Indian roads and have reduced CO2 emissions up to 419 tonne, which would have required planting 2,095 trees, Satyam said.
The government, under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicle (FAME)-2 scheme, has planned to invest Rs 5,500 crore over the next five years envisaging full transformation from fossil-fuel enabled mobility to electric mobility. Under the first round of FAME bidding, a price of Rs 60 per km has been discovered as the cost of travelling by an electric vehicle.
However, this has to come down while more players need to to take interest in manufacturing electric buses in India. Most players are looking at manufacturing electric sedans. Apart from Olectra-BYD, Tata Motors is looking at manufacturing electric buses. The power ministry has asked all state distribution companies to evaluate a business model for setting up charging stations for electric vehicles, Ajay Mathur, director Tata Energy Research Institute, said..