India may replace more than a third of the national bus fleet with ZEBs
According to the ET, the plan includes 200,000 electric buses for state transport companies, 550,000 for private operators and 50,000 school buses and shuttles by 2030.
The plan could come under the ‘Faster Adoption and Manufacturing Electric Vehicles’ (FAME) funding programme, which is currently headed for its third round but still needs to be confirmed.
Sources involved with the plans told the ET, that “Replacing diesel buses with electric ones will not only address environmental concerns but also help create an ecosystem for electric vehicles”.
There have been two meetings of top government officials and representatives from multilateral institutions on how to aggregate and convert the demand, a senior official told ET, adding that the focus of talks has been placing large procurement tenders to lower the per-unit cost and distributing the vehicles to existing transporters.
“India currently has about 2,300,000 buses, of which 140,000 are run by public transport authorities,” said Saurabh Kumar, vice president of the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) in India.
“Financial institutions would have to come on board, like they did while investing in developing mass rapid transit systems (MRTS), to electrify buses at this scale,” said another ET, source. “The government is keen as they feel, rather than incentivising personal buyers who can afford electric cars and two-wheelers, it is better to invest resources in a segment which will have the highest impact, socially as well as environmentally.”
This is not India’s first time running electric bus funding schemes. The ‘PM-eBus Sewa’ scheme, for example, aims to deploy a total of 10,000 electric buses in 169 Indian cities within ten years and to create the infrastructure, including charging technology, to operate the electric buses. The programme is worth around 576 billion rupees (approx. 6.9 billion US dollars) and is a public-private partnership.
Similar advances are underway on the regional level. In Delhi, Tata Motors has delivered 1,300 electric buses through a government-led funding scheme.