India's first fully 'Made in India' electric bus was launched on 17-10-2016 by Chennai-based auto major Ashok Leyland. The Circuit series of buses will be priced between Rs 1.5 to Rs 3.5 crore and will have a full charge range of 120 kilometer, according to the company.
"In April 2015, at FAME Delhi workshop, we had committed to vehicles with full electric power trains by January '17. I am happy to dedicate the first vehicle in this new Circuit series, ahead of schedule," said Ashok Leyland MD Vinod K Dasari.
The bus series will be offered to customers on multiple platforms. "It... will enable operators to cater to customers in city centres with minimal operational and maintenance costs," pointed out T Venkataraman, SVP – Global Bus. Electric vehicles are slowly becoming more desirable, especially due to rapidly growing pollution levels in major cities.
The challenge lies in ramping up infrastructure necessary to sustain electric mobility. Experts point out that electric buses make more sense than trying to promote private EVs due to the nature of their routes. "Getting infrastructure in place for buses will be easier because they are point to point and can charge in depots. Using them as a supplement to diesel vehicles during peak hours would be an ideal solution," pointed out Rajeev Singh, Partner, KPMG India.
Abdul Majeed, Partner and auto expert, PwC, agrees. "I am not denying that infrastructure is a problem. High prices are another. But I think electric buses can be made to work with government support in subsidies. We also need to keep in mind that we an electricity deficient country and the electricity we produce is from coal, which is more dangerous," he said.