Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) intends to roll out electricity-run buses to cut down on fuel costs and pollution. The state transporter is in talks to buy the buses to use up the subsidies announced by the central government.
Kerala has been looking into the possibilities of buying buses that run on LNG and CNG. The corporation has reached an agreement with the Indian Oil Corporation to set up Kerala’s first CNG plant at Anayara in Thiruvananthapuram. The union government is yet to grant Kerala permission to use LNG buses.
Electricity-run buses may be a better alternative as they cost only a tenth of the expenses for other buses. The KSRTC can avail of Rs 30 lakh to Rs 66 lakh as central subsidies given to buses used for public transport.
The e-buses do not pose a problem of storing CNG and LNG. However, e-buses are costlier. They cost anywhere between Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 2.5 crore. But they cost only Rs 5 to run a kilometer.
E-buses have done trial services in many Indian cities including Bengaluru and Chennai. Bengaluru pressed into service an imported e-bus two years ago, while Chennai has an e-bus brought out by Ashok Leyland.
The buses can run 120 kilometers after a three-hour recharge of the lithium ion batteries. With 31 seats, they can reach a speed of up to 80 kilometers.
Kerala had sought Chinese help to buy the buses. The chief minister had discussed the issue with the Chinese ambassador, who had responded favorably to the project.