The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) on Thursday unveiled the country’s first electric bus in a “cleaner” attempt to ease its mass transport requirements.
The 12-metre-long air-conditioned ‘e-bus’ can accommodate 32 people, including the driver and a wheelchair occupant, and can travel 250 km on a single charge of four to six hours. The BMTC will use the electric bus on a trial basis for three months and, based on the success of the operations, it will be expanding the services.
Manufactured by BYD, a Chinese coach company, the emission-free bus costs Rs 2.7 crore against Rs 1.3 crore to Rs 1.7 crore for a Volvo A/C bus. “A low running cost of Rs 7 per km — as compared to Rs 18 per km for a Volvo A/C bus — and easy maintenance are expected to drastically reduce the cost per passenger to BMTC,” said Vishwas Shetty, the director of Utopia Automation and Control, which facilitated BMTC’s acquisition of the bus. BMTC Managing Director Anjum Parwez said: “Three months is sufficient time to study the feasibility of the vehicle on our road. We will take feedback from passengers and crew before deciding on acquiring it as part of our fleet.” For the safety of passengers, there are two rooftop escape hatches and all window panes are made of breakable glasses in case of emergency. BMTC has already shortlisted and trained eight Volvo bus drivers.