Designed, developed and manufactured in India, Switch EiV 22 is a semi-low floor, air conditioned, electric double-decker from Ashok Leyland’s electric vehicle arm ‘Switch Mobility.’
By April-May, five AC double-decker electric buses from Switch Mobility will operate in Bengaluru.
After Mumbai, Bengaluru may soon see double-decker buses on its roads as the first AC double-decker electric bus is likely to be operational in March.
In a Rs 10 crore tender for five double-decker AC electric buses under the directorate of urban land transport (DULT) funds, Switch Mobility emerged as the lone bidder.
“We may get the first AC double-decker electric bus by March and another four by April-May. We’re thinking of operating on Hebbal-Silk Board for regular passenger service and the fare will be the same as Vajra (Volvo AC) fare,” BMTC director (IT) AV Surya Sen told The Times of India.
As part of the National Clean Air Program, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change, sanctioned Rs 140 crore for the BBMP to improve air quality for 2021–2022.
It includes funding for the adoption of environmentally friendly AC double-decker buses.
In the 1970s and 1980s, commuters frequently took double-decker buses to get to popular locations like M.G. Road, Shivajinagar, and City Market. However, they were gradually phased out of the BMTC fleet.
Due to declining interest, the sole bus in the fleet used for city excursions was discontinued in 2014.
The centre also allocated Rs 20 crore for the electrification of 15 bus depots as part of the FAME (faster adoption and manufacturing of hybrid and electric vehicles) scheme, which aims to promote the usage of hybrid and electric cars.
According to BMTC officials, narrow roads and those with flyovers, overhead power lines, telecom cables, and tree branches could pose significant challenges for the double-decker buses to operate.
Another concern includes the poor condition of the roads, in addition to the gradient and curvature.
‘Made in India’ double decker buses
In August 2022, Ashok Leyland’s electric vehicle arm, Switch Mobility, unveiled India’s first and unique electric double-decker air-conditioned bus ‘Switch EiV 22.’
Designed, developed and manufactured in India and utilising Switch’s global electric bus experience, Switch EiV 22 is a semi-low floor, air conditioned, electric double-decker with a wider door on the rear overhang and a rear staircase.
It has a lightweight aluminium body construction, which offers a higher passenger-to-weight ratio and a competitive cost per km per passenger.
Also, it can ferry nearly twice the number of seated passengers as a comparable single-decker bus with just an 18 per cent increase in kerb weight.
Powering Switch EiV 22 is a 231 kWh capacity, 2-string, liquid-cooled, higher density NMC chemistry battery pack with a dual gun charging system.
This battery pack enables the electric double decker to have a range of up to 250 km for intra-city applications.