In the process of phasing out all diesel-run buses and adding more electric vehicles to its fleet, Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) plans to increase electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to meet the demand.
“The EV charging station at Wagholi is ready for commissioning and will soon be inaugurated. This will increase the capacity to charge electric buses and be a step towards making public transport bus service free of diesel vehicles,” said municipal commissioner Vikram Kumar.
“The e-vehicle depot at Wagholi will have 35 charging stations where 70 e-buses can be charged at the same time. Earlier, the PMPML had launched the largest e-depot in Baner on March 6 and it was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said Laxminarayan Mishra, PMPML chairman and managing director.
In addition, the PMPML also plans to launch an electric bus service to ferry tourists to Sinhagad Fort from its base. “The two charging stations on Sinhagad Fort are ready and will be available for charging the PMPML buses for the special service,” he said, adding that the Maharashtra government has decided to stop all kinds of private vehicles from plying on the road from the base to the top of the fort.
“We can now charge 40 buses in Baner and its full capacity will be achieved soon. The Wagholi facility will also be scaled up in phases,” said PMC chief engineer Srinivas Kandul. The PMC is also planning to set up charging stations at Pune station and Bibewad depots.
Two years ago, the first electric bus charging depot was started at Bhekrainagar in Hadapsar followed by one at Nigdi in Pimpri-Chinchwad where 150 e-buses were procured through the Union government’s funds.
The PMPML is presently plying 150 electric buses on 19 routes and slowly increasing its capacity as 70 new electric buses have joined its fleet. It has also started to procure the service of 300 air-conditioned electric minibuses having a seating capacity of 18 people and a wheelchair to ply in the central parts of the city.
The PMPML plans to induct 650 electric buses in its fleet of around 2,000 buses to ensure that the public transport bus service is environment-friendly.