Kolkata To Get EV Makeover As Over 1,200 Electric Buses Set To Join City’s Roads In Next Two Years

The electric vehicles (EV) division of Tata Motors has bagged the tender to deliver 1200 e-buses to Kolkata. 400 of these e-buses will be delivered by the end of 2022 whereas the remaining 800 will hit the roads by 2023. 480 of them will be air-conditioned (AC) and the others will be non-AC.

“The tender for 1,200 more electric buses for the city was bagged by Tata Motors Electric’s vehicle division. The buses will come to the city in phases over the next two years. The state needs to pay Rs 40 per km for each of those buses. This, we think, will be a game-changer in the public transport sector,” an official from the West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) was quoted in a report by The Economic Times.

West Bengal’s Transport Minister Firhad Hakim also flagged off 10 e-buses in Kolkata on Wednesday. These 10 are amongst the first 50 of another lot of e-buses that have been manufactured by Delhi’s PMI Electro Mobility Solutions (PMIEMS).

Hakim thus initiated the operating expenses (OPEX) model for electric bus services in Kolkata under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME II) scheme.

“Under the OPEX model, PMIEMS will operate, charge and maintain the vehicles at their own cost. We provide the conductor and the daily earnings will come to the government coffers. We will pay them Rs 86 per km,” Hakim said.

The OPEX model is considered to be better than the CAPEX one given that the government is not bound to spend upfront for the buses in the former. “We will pay them at a fixed rate for 5,000 km. This private-public partnership in public transportation will be hugely beneficial for commuters. Because of the electric mobility, the fare will always be under check,” the aforementioned official further expressed.

Simultaneously, the WBTC is working towards initiating electric vessels in Hooghly. The design and planning for the conversion of one electric ferry is under the works and will be completed in the coming couple of months. Talks are also taking place over introducing electric trolly buses by making use of the existing tram electric power infrastructure.