Bengaluru’s first e-bus to arrive on Sunday; likely to be deployed at Kengeri Metro station | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: The city’s wait for environment-friendly electric buses is finally nearing an end. BMTC’s first electric bus under Bengaluru Smart City funds is expected to arrive on Sunday.
BMTC officials said NTPC along with JBM Auto had received the contract in February to provide 90 non-AC midi (9-metre long) e-buses under the Bengaluru Smart City project. These vehicles with a passenger capacity of 30 to 35 will be deployed for feeder services at Metro stations like Mysuru Road, Byappanahalli, Banashankari and Indiranagar. The first bus is likely to be deployed for feeder services at Kengeri Metro station.
“The first e-bus has left JBM’s bus plant at Kosi in Mathura (Uttar Pradesh) in a trailer on Wednesday night and is expected to reach the city by Sunday,” said a BMTC official.
Though the plan was to deploy the buses from June 2021 in phases, NTPC-JBM missed several deadlines. Officials said the remaining 89 e-buses will be inducted in a phased manner by December 15. Meanwhile, JBM Auto in a regulatory filing on Thursday stated that all buses will be supplied in the current financial year.
Though BMTC had earlier planned to keep them conductorless, these buses will have conductors. NTPC-JBM will deploy a driver and also operate and maintain buses, apart from setting up charging infrastructure at major depots and stations.
“This will be a 12-year contract, wherein BMTC will pay them on a per-km basis. The firm will deploy a driver and take care of the fleet’s operation and maintenance. We will deploy the conductor and the fare will be the same as diesel non-AC buses,” said an official.
Though BMTC was the first state-run transport utility in the country to have conducted trial runs for e-buses in 2014, not even one battery-run bus has been inducted to its fleet so far.
Ashok Leyland lowest bidder in FAME-II tender

Ashok Leyland emerged as the lowest bidder to supply 300 non-AC e-buses sanctioned under Centre’s Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India (FAME)-II scheme. This is the fifth tender under FAME-II as earlier bids received lukewarm response.
Last week, BMTC opened financial bids and Ashok Leyland quoted the least with Rs 48.9 per km followed by Tata Motors (Rs 54.9 per km), JBM (Rs 57.97 per km), Evy Trans (Olectra) was 59.5 rupees per km and Veera Vahana was disqualified. However, BMTC is yet to issue work orders to Ashok Leyland as further negotiations are on.
“The 12-metre e-buses inducted under FAME-II will have a seating capacity of 41,” said a BMTC official.
Meanwhile, KSRTC is planning to operate 50 AC electric buses under the FAME-II. Sources said Olectra which quoted Rs 55/km emerged as the lowest bidder, however, KSRTC is yet to issue workers. The department of heavy industries (DHI) is yet to extend the FAME-II deadline, which was in March 2021. However, BMTC and KSRTC officials sought an extension citing delays due to the pandemic.

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Sagar Biswas

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