Amid growing chorus around use of e-mobility to cut carbon emissions in the state capital, the Karnataka administration has given its nod for the launch of KSRTC e-buses on six inter-city routes including Bengaluru to Mysuru, Madikeri, Virajpet, Chikkamagaluru, Davanagere and Shivamogga.
The new routes identified by the state road department is likely to see about 50 new AC electric buses plying under the second phase of Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme.
This comes at a time when the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), is yet to finalise the tender to induct 300 non-AC electric buses sanctioned under phase II of FAME scheme. The utility had already lost Rs 80 crore subsidy for 80 e-buses under FAME-I. Sources said the deadline for FAME-II was March-end. However, BMTC has sought an extension.
The BMTC is supposed to induct 90 non-AC e-buses under the Bengaluru Smart City project. While the first e-bus under Smart City funds is likely to be inducted by September and the remaining 89 by December.
According to the state road transport department, a Hyderabad-based Olectra Greentech Limited (OGL) has emerged the lowest bidder in KSRTC’s FAME-II tender. It will be a 12-year contract in which KSRTC will pay on a per km basis. Olectra reportedly quoted Rs 62/km, including electricity, in the tender and reduced it to Rs 55/km after negotiations with KSRTC officials.
“The KSRTC board is expected to approve the tender at its next meeting. Once cleared, we will approach the department of heavy industries (DHI) to extend the FAME-II deadline, which was March 2021. We have already intimated them about the delays due to the pandemic. We will issue a work order to the firm after DHI’s nod,” KSRTC official said.
As per the agreement between the KSRTC and Olectra, the latter will also take care of operations and maintenance of these buses. “The firm will also deploy a driver and set up charging stations at these locations. But we will deploy conductors. DHI is giving a subsidy of Rs 55 lakh per bus. But there are not enough manufacturers in the inter-city segment,” The official said.
As part of the plan the 12-metre-long AC bus will accommodate 43 passengers and run up to 250-300km on single charge. The move also comes at a time when rising diesel prices have impacted the margins of the state transport department.