The cost of running electric buses in the national capital would be around Rs 111 per kilometre, a consultant has told the Delhi government in a report, with the total cost of the e-buses project being pegged at around Rs 3,000 crore. The government has decided to procure 1,000 e-buses.
The amount, calculated on a per bus basis, covers capital charges, maintenance cost, manpower charge and power consumption charge, states the report prepared by the DIMTS (Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System). The cost will increase further if infrastructure for charging these buses are created only in depots and not terminals, it added.
Why govt push for e-mobility comes at a steep price
The proposal to field 1,000 e-buses can be seen in the context of the ongoing emphasis of the Delhi government in ensuring that the city's public as well private transport makes a gradual transition to electric mobility. The government recently issued a draft e-vehicle policy in this regard. For a city that does not have a single battery-run public bus yet, the proposed fleet comes with a set of challenges, chief being the cost. Globally, operations and maintenance of e-vehicles continue to be a costly proposition. The projected per km cost of running e-buses in Delhi clearly shows the government will have to extend substantial subsidies to private players who will procure and run the buses.
While capital charge will come to around Rs 78 per km and maintenance cost to Rs 9.91 per km, Rs 15.96 will go into funding the manpower. The remaining Rs 7.86 per kilometre will go into power consumption.
While a standard-floor orange cluster bus runs around 210-260 kilometres daily, the e-buses would not be able to cover that much distance as their battery capacity lowers “significantly” after a few years, states the report.
“Thus, most service schedules cannot be operated by battery buses that are solely recharged at a bus depot at night, as the mileages are longer than achievable ranges, especially by older buses. Longer ranges (mileage) are only achievable with bigger batteries installed, which reduces the passenger carrying capacity, if an upper limit for the gross weight of a bus has been set…,” it added.
The DIMTS has also stressed on the need for creating separate charging infrastructure for buses and not just at the depots, but at terminals as well. Not doing so and still seeking to run as many number of buses like in the cluster scheme, would require the procurement of up to 20% more buses, it added.
The 1,000 electric buses in the pipeline should be distributed into seven clusters, procured and operated by private contractors, the DIMTS said in its report and recommended that the government limit its role to subsidising the services. The DIMTS operates the orange cluster service.
The depots where they will be housed are located at East Vinod Nagar, Rohini Sector 37, Burari, Mudhela Kalan, Sarai Kale Khan and Daurala.
“Similar to the existing cluster buses, all e-buses under the scheme would be operating under a common brand, referred to as ‘Delhi Transit’ as stage carriage services,” the report states.
Delhi has around 5,500 buses currently, as against the requirement of 11,000, as mandated by the Supreme Court. Apart from the 1,000 e-buses, the AAP government is in the process of acquiring 1,000 standard-floor and 1,000 low-floor CNG buses.