With increasing population and pollution level, switching to electric buses in India is the way forward. According to the World Health Organisation, 9 out of 10 people in the world are breathing air that contains pollutants and is killing around 7 million people globally. Vehicular pollution is the leading cause of air pollution. In a country like India, the increasing population and lack of public transportation are leading to more personal vehicles, traffic and pollution. At present, there are nearly 40,000 public transport buses out of which 80% operate in the top eight cities.
In an endeavor to provide clean and comfortable public transportation to people, the Department of Heavy Industry under the Ministry of Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises approved of 5,595 electric buses that will operate in 64 Indian cities. This project is a part of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME-II) program. Among these buses, 400 will cater to intercity traffic and 100 for last-mile delivery to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. These buses will run 4 billion kilometers and save around 1.2 billion litres of fuel and avoid 2.6 million tonnes of CO2 emission during the contract period. The introduction of alternative fuel vehicles is inevitable and electric buses are the future.
According to P&S Intelligence report, the Indian electric bus market can reach 7,187 units by 2025. They project it to grow at CAGR of 53% during 2019-2025. More hybrid electric buses will come in this forecast period as against the battery electric ones. Likewise, the ones that are less than 10 metres in length will launch more than those longer than 10 metres. With more electric buses on Indian roads, the pollution levels is expected to come down. As the number of buses will increase, people are likely to switch from private cars to eco-friendly buses. Commutation will become smooth, and air quality will become better.
The Indian electric bus market segment is getting driven by the strict emission norms of the government and support in the form of grants and subsidies. The Ministry of Urban Development also launched the Green Urban Transport Scheme to reduce CO2 emission from public transport. The Ministry also proposed $3.6 billion grant for the development of electric buses across the country. Several state governments are also supporting this cause. Besides, many electric bus manufacturers are working with state and central authorities to electrify public transport in the country.
Many electric buses are under trial, and some have started full-fledged commercial operations. The Li-ion battery prices are also expected to decline. It will give a boost to the battery electric buses facilitating operational efficiency. The battery accounts for nearly 25-40% of the bus manufacturing cost. If this cost comes down, the overall price of electric bus manufacturing will also decline. As with internal combustion engine driven vehicles, with time, reduced battery cost and more advancements, even electric bus cost will come down.
Electric buses are at the core of modern public transportation in India. The entire ecosystem is getting set with more charging stations and infrastructure. These buses are overall a smart, safe and sustainable mode of transportation. It will go a long way in reducing pollution and congestion on Indian roads. With more of these buses on Indian roads, more people will switch to public transport. It will change the way Indians commute and benefit with a breath of fresh air. Travel smart, be safe and live healthy with smart electric buses.