• Parag Diwan

Can Electric Buses Transform India's Transportation?

Road Electrification - A future of public and private transportation

The Indian government, in a change of its mindset, is now trying to achieve 70% penetration of electric buses in the Public transport networks by 2030. With the opening up of this opportunity, many National and International Bus Makers are keenly angling for the opportunity and putting together appropriate models of e-buses in their line-ups.

As of now, there are around 1.6 million registered buses in India, out of which only 170,000 are operated by public bus operators mostly concentrated in the 8 biggest metropolises across India. The number of public buses is woefully inadequate for a nation of India’s size and this has led to a proliferation of personal vehicles. Public transportation should be seen as an enduring means for the public good. The characteristics of public transportation should be that they are dependable, safe, and easily accessible so that it becomes our first choice for mobility needs.

Indian Policy Initiatives for e-Buses

The government of India announced the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan [NEMMP] 2020 to quicken the development of the electric and hybrid transportation segment. It essentially aimed at assembling and manufacturing EVs in India.

The Department of Heavy Industries (DHI) had propelled FAME (Faster Adaptation and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles) in April 2015 to advance the assembling of electric and hybrid vehicles in India. As a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan, FAME has a corpus of about ₹ 8 billion (US$ 123 million) to put resources into multifarious e-mobility initiatives. This corpus was to be used over a span of two years and was supposed to be ended in April 2017, however it has now been extended to propagate policies of “Make in India” especially to manufacture Li-Ion batteries in India.

The scheme is focused on the 4 key areas:-

— Fiscal and tax ecosystem to encourage customers to opt for EVs

— Purchase of Electric or Hybrid Vehicles

— Pilot Project for City Buses

— Supporting Infrastructure

Demand Side Incentives under FAME Scheme:

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FAME India Allocation of money to different components under the Scheme

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Electric Buses Procurement in India

DHI authorized INR 4.37 billion (US$ 67 million) for the acquirement of electric public sector buses, e-cabs, and e-cars in December 2017. The office had chosen 11 urban communities with one million or more populace for the procurement of 390 electric buses and is giving a grant to the tune of INR 10 million (US$ 150,000) per e-bus.

The division has endorsed 40 e-buses for each city under the pilot venture, except 15 e-buses each for Guwahati and Jammu. Be that as it may, BMTC (Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation) in Bengaluru is thinking about 150 e-buses and TSRTC (Telangana State Road Transport Corporation) in Hyderabad has chosen to take 100 e-buses. 10 out of 11 urban communities brought about their tenders, aside from Delhi which is intending to secure 700 e-buses independently utilizing state spending plans. Against the usual long drawn processes, each of the 10 urban communities finished this intricate procedure within a few months and got a great reaction from the bus manufacturers.

The office enabled the urban areas to choose the procurement strategies from amongst the alternatives of Outright Purchase or Gross Cost Contract (GCC).

In the instance of Outright Purchase, DHI gives 60% endowment, and the State street transport partnerships give the rest. Five urban areas (Indore, Lucknow, Kolkata, Jammu, and Guwahati) discharged tenders under the Outright Purchase Model. Under the FAME Scheme, the city hopes to get an appropriation of up to 60% of the capital expense of Electric Bus over a period of 3 years in three portions of 20% each in each financial beginning from the current monetary year of 2017–18.

On the other hand, the buses would be operated and maintained by the bus supplier at a pre-agreed investment of operating expenses for every km bus is driven under the GCC scheme. 5 urban areas (Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, and Jaipur) have chosen to welcome offers under GCC.

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Hybrid and all Electric Buses

Difficulties in acquiring e-buses are due to their high upfront expense with a lack of supporting framework, not many public transportation services can choose to go for e-mobility. Notwithstanding this fact, e-buses offer advantages, including the reduction of noise pollution as well as carbon footprint. With the decrease of polluting emissions, the air quality improves and so does the productivity urban population. On a holistic basis, there is a need for a proper Cost-Benefit Analysis, which factors, on one hand, the higher upfront expenses and on the other hand the advantages to the society at large.

The CBA approach has led to the development of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) methodology. In this context, TCO alludes to the expense brought about by the operator to run a bus over its lifetime and incorporates inputs such as the acquisition cost, staff cost, vitality cost, and upkeep costs. To develop this model, all expenses were figured as Net Present Value (NPV) per km. It was seen that a few parameters, in particular, subsidy, loan fee, normal daily run, fuel value, battery substitution cost, and battery limit, notably affect the TCO of various bus models. Given this analysis, different scenarios were created to comprehend the effect of various parameters on the TCO per km for various bus types.

This methodology gives a tool to comprehend the ramifications of various parameters on the expenses and advantages, once they are contextualized for a specific city. Additionally, it outlines the strategy and guide improvements for the acquisition of e-buses on a large scale.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

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This method includes the direct money-related expenses such as capital costs; O&M costs, and so on, of ordinary diesel and e-bus variants. This is notwithstanding the estimation of financial advantages and environmental impacts natural effects, for example, decreases in vitality utilization, achieving sustainable development goals, and carbon footprint mitigation.

Monetizing Benefits: The TCO method incorporates monetizing the advantages specified above.

Sensitivity Analysis: This analysis was done to survey vulnerabilities, for example, appropriations, loan fees, fuel costs, normal run, battery cost and battery limit, and the expenses related to these dynamic parameters.

Manufacturing of E-Buses in India: Challenges and Accomplishments

Bus manufacturers in India have recently unveiled several electric bus models. Some international players have also entered the market; however, India needs Smart Electric buses, Made in India, for India. Each city in India has a diverse climate, street conditions, working conditions, etc., therefore, buses built for long, smooth, wide streets and cooler climate of the western world may not do well in India. Here, we require electric buses of different sizes and types. Therefore, we need multiple segments of our public transportation system.

Some local key players of Electric bus transportation Segments are, Ashok Leyland Limited, JBM Auto Limited, Tata Motors, Deccan Auto Limited. Some of the international players such as Solaris Bus & Coach, Poland, Zhongtong Auto Co, China, BYD Auto Industry Co, China.

Different Charging infrastructure for electric buses:

Electric buses need charging infrastructure and public regulations. Therefore, an entire ecosystem needs to be created. The substantial effort already on-going in each of these areas. Key points being addressed for the charging infrastructure are standardizing charging station interfaces, regulatory changes to decide on which entities can sell power, defining safety standards, and an entity that can enable the necessary space for the installation of charging stations.

1. Off-board Top-down-Pantograph

The electric bus batteries are charged in consistent interim previously coming back to benefit. The charging span relies upon the bus in operation separations between bus stand, potential movement blockage, atmosphere conditions, and the extent of the batteries. The thought is to keep buses out and about in well-demonstrated operations throughout the day. The buses should be furnished with contact rails, a Wi-Fi radio wire, and the essential control and switchgear units.

2. Charging via connector/Conductive Charging

Plug-In DC Chargers are designed for fast charging of electric buses. Plug-in DC chargers are available as single or twin chargers with the advantage of reduced infrastructure expenditure as they have a designated contact point changing fixed in depot slots where the buses are parked for a specific duration, charged, and then are again taken for the designated route for the public transportation services.

3. Battery Swapping

Another technique for charging is ‘Battery Swapping’ in which the bus stops at a battery-swapping station and gets another battery and proceeds onward while the old battery is taken out and charged. Battery swapping expects space to stockroom batteries, in addition to interest in mechanization to deal with substantial batteries.

4. Inductive Charging

Inductive charging or wireless charging is a process in which the energy is transferred from one body to another with the help of an electromagnetic field via electromagnetic induction. The energy is sent through the primary coil of an inductive coupling device to the secondary coil via an electromagnetic field. The primary coil is excited through an alternating current and an electromotive force is induced in the secondary of the receiver end due to the flow of magnetic flux through both coils. This induced electromotive force is converted to alternating current and energy is transferred wirelessly.

Benefits of e-Buses as Public Utility

  1. Perfect application of technology to mitigate carbon footprints and lead to sustainable development goals.

  2. The expense of upkeep is around 25% lower than the cost of a diesel bus since the electric motors do not have as many moving parts as a diesel engine.

  3. The e-bus is less noisy than a diesel e-bus giving passengers a quieter ride and essentially reducing the noise pollution.

  4. The e-buses supports a regenerative braking mechanism that conserves power.

  5. No trade-off on operational accessibility, transport limit, and better passenger comfort.

Challenges of E-Buses

  1. As of today, the electric bus is more costly than a diesel bus. However, the trends show that with scale the difference is going to come down.

  2. Adjustments must be made to the operational frameworks including additions such as charging stations in the region where the public transportation services are provided.

  3. The charging frameworks restrict the driving range.

  4. Building and operating plans for the electric bus transportation network ought to think about an assortment of parameters.


The opportunity to transform public transportation in India is here and now. It is based on the paradigm of the introduction of e-mobility in the public transportation system. Providing smart, at a reasonable cost, safe, and easily accessible public transportation is the way to tackle the challenges of pollution and clogging of city roads that typical Indian urban commuter faces today. Hopefully, the emergence of smart e-bus transportation is going to nudge individuals to leave scooters, cars, and bicycles at home and use greener transportation. It could change how Indians drive and improve the quality of air that India breathes.



· Forbes India

· Siemens

· Wikipedia

· india.uitp.org

· Centre for Study of Science, Technology, and Policy, Bangalore

· IEA analysis based on country submissions; IEA, 2018c.

· UITP — Advancing Public Transport

· Electric Buses in India: Technology, Policy and Benefits, Global Green Growth Institute

· Global EV Outlook 2018

· http://www.india.uitp.org/news/electric-buses-procurement-indian-cities-got-the-viable-rates


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