India’s first retrofitted electric bus has been flagged off by PM Narendra Modi, exclusively for the use by Members of Parliament. Attending a function at Parliament House, the retrofit electric bus was unveiled by the PM while keys were presented to Lok Sabha Speaker.
This is the first time that a diesel bus has been converted to a battery operated bus. The initiative is a part of the initiative by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways towards contributing to environmentally clean pollution free and cost effective transport.
India’s first retrofitted electric bus is a pilot project undertaken by Central Institute of Road Transport. The prototype was wholly developed by KPIT, Pune. It is also a part of the Government’s initiative to reduce vehicle pollution and setting examples for use of environmentally friendly mobility solutions. 10 more such retrofitted electric buses are being planned by March 2016, to be used by State Transport Undertakings while conversion of diesel buses to electric will follow based on its success.
These 15 seater vehicles are the first batch of diesel run buses converted to battery power system. The Center funded INR 10 crores for this pilot project in an effort to adopt green technology. An imported electric bus is priced at INR 1.75 crores while the buses that are converted indigenously could cost around INR 60 lakhs which could be reduced even further with the advancement of technology.
IIT Kharagpur and IIT Madras are in the process of developing lithium-ion batteries for this purpose while ISRO scientists are working in collaboration with the Government to develop batteries at a cost of INR 5 lakhs as against the imported ones which cost INR 55 lakhs.