India launches new tenders for thousands of e-buses

In India, Convergence Energy Services (CESL), a subsidiary of state-run Energy Efficiency Services (EESL), has launched the third round of tenders under the Grand Challenge Scheme. The aim is to fund thousands of electric buses in up to nine major cities across the sub-continent.

CESL is India’s government agency procuring and deploying electric vehicles across all government and state-run units to ensure vehicle standards and operational compatibility across states.

This time, CESL is accepting bids for a total of 4,675 electric buses to be deployed in Delhi, Kerala and Telangana. The submissions will be for a dry lease, where the operator provides the buses to state transport corporations (STCs) without drivers or conductors, which are deployed by STCs.

This is the third tender for electric buses in less than 15 months, with a total cumulative volume of 16,590 e-Buses across the country, equivalent to 33% of the target given to CESL.

The first round of tenders was launched one year ago when CESL wanted to help deploy 5,450 electric solo buses and 130 electric double-deckers for use in Delhi, Kolkata, Surat, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Tata Motors reportedly was among the big winners of the Grand Challenge Scheme since it won bids to deliver over 3,600 electric buses.

The new tender includes three types of e-Buses: 9-m standard floor AC, 12-m low floor and standard floor non-AC & AC electric buses.

Service providers will own and maintain these buses for ten or twelve years. Service providers will be paid a monthly fee per bus.

Charging infrastructure at depots is to be provided by both parties in clearly demarcated roles and responsibilities, as constructed and standardized in the 2022 Grand Challenge process.

To date, CESL has floated two tenders under phase 1 of India’s National Electric Bus Programme, launched after the Grand Challenge. So far, tenders have included the deployment of electric buses in seven states – Delhi, Telangana, Haryana, Gujarat (Surat), Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka (North-West).,