BMTC set for trial run of e-bus

The vehicle is being provided by a Hyderabad-based company

After a gap of over six years, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is conducting another round of trials of electric buses. This time, a Hyderabad-based company named ‘Olectra’ has provided an e-bus for the trial run. The Corporation is waiting for clearance from the Transport Department before starting the trial. “We may operate the bus for one month,” said an official.

As part of the trial, the Corporation plans to run buses to Electronics City, Kadugodi, Kempegowda International Airport, among other places. In the coming days, the BMTC will also be receiving e-buses from Ashok Leyland and JBM.

In 2014, the BMTC ran trials with an e-bus manufactured by a China-based company. The bus was operated for four months on Bengaluru’s roads to assess various parameters, including the passenger experience. The Corporation wanted to procure the bus, but the high cost quoted by the company – about ₹2.5 crore – proved to be a deterrent.

For the last six years, the BMTC has been attempting to include electric buses in its fleet, but has not been successful, missing deadlines one after another.

An official said, “There has been a lot of progress in the technology over the years. We have to make sure that the e-buses meet our specifications, such as energy consumption, carrying capacity and how it performs on busy roads.”

The AC electric bus provided by the Hyderabad-based company for the trial run is 12 metres long, has seating for 37 passengers and can run up to 180 km on a single charge.

“During the trial, passengers will not be allowed to board the bus. We will use sandbags to assess how the bus runs with different load factors. We will also use heavy traffic roads, routes having flyovers and grade separators,” the official said.

The BMTC hopes to lease and operate 300 e-buses under the Centre’s FAME 2 scheme. It had recently cancelled the tender process as it was not financially viable, and sought an extension in the deadline from the Centre to float tenders.

Sources said the government has given the extension and fresh tenders will be floated in the coming days. According to the BMTC official, the tender evaluation is under process to lease another 90 e-buses under the Smart City project. These nine-metre buses will be operated as metro feeder services.

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