While the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking failed to roll out its four electric buses on Sunday, which were inaugurated amid much fanfare on November 10, three of the buses hit the road on Monday while the last of them is yet under maintenance.
The electric buses, purchased at Rs 1.65 crore each, plied on three routes on Monday — Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) to World Trade Centre, Churchgate to NCPA, and CSMT to Backbay Depot — however their frequency was low as the officials are rolling out the services in a gradual manner.
“Our engineering staff is currently being trained on using the fourth bus which too will be on the road soon,” said Hanumant Gophane, spokesperson, BEST Undertaking. The remaining two electric buses will join the fleet before December-end.
These environment-friendly electric buses are fitted with lithium ion batteries of 160 Kwh that reach full charge within four hours, and are said to be more economical as fuel cost for them is Rs 8/km as opposed to Rs 15/km for a CNG bus and Rs 20/km for a diesel bus. This is the first time that the BEST buses will be gear less and will run on auto-transmission.
Rs 10 crore for the six electric buses is being funded by the BMC. The BEST Undertaking is hoping to receive another Rs 20 crore from the Centre for the purchase of more electric buses. The floor height of these buses is 650 mm keeping the needs of differently-abled commuters in mind. The buses will also have six mobile charging points.
- Each of the buses can run for 200 kms on a single charge.
- The Backbay Depot has six charging points.
- Each bus costs Rs 1.65 crore, as opposed to the regular single-decker bus which costs Rs 60-65 lakh.