In another attempt towards e-mobility, KSRTC has invited tenders to hire electricity-powered buses for its fleet. As many 250 non-AC buses will be hired by KSRTC for intercity operations for 10 years.
Different from previous bids, KSRTC has invited three different tenders for each zone — Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode. There will be 100 e-buses each under Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam zone and 50 buses will be operated under Kozhikode zone.
KSRTC has demanded for 12-metre long buses with minimum 40 seats (34 seats in case wheel access and locking facility is available) which are feasible on city roads. The range of distance covered by buses on single charge will be 250km.
Though it was proposed to operate more e-buses on Nilakkal-Pamba route for Sabarimala season, only one applicant had qualified in the previous bid invited by the transport corporation and the tender was cancelled.
As per the agreement, the bidder will have to meet the operating expenses and provide a driver, and KSRTC will deploy its conductor or make necessary arrangements for passenger fare collection.
Charging stations for e-buses are available at Pappanamcode, Haripad, Aluva and Ernakulam depots of KSRTC and routes will be planned based on KSEB proposal to install electric vehicle charging stations. National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) with automatic fare collection devices, mobile charging points and Wi-Fi facility will be available in the buses.
“These buses are suitable for intercity routes. More charging stations can be installed in other depots after the buses are taken on wet lease. Also, the plan to purchase e-buses under FAME scheme (faster adoption and manufacturing of (hybrid and) electric vehicles) of Union ministry is being considered. E-buses can be purchased at 50% subsidy in the scheme,” said an official of the transport department.