Delhi gets its first electric bus

New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) The national capital got its first battery operated "zero-emission" electric bus on Thursday and Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai said more such buses may follow if the six-month trial of this bus was a success. "It is the first such bus in India which is 100 percent pollution-free, operates completely on electricity and used for public transport. The bus will run on trial basis for six months in Delhi and we will assess if more such buses could be added to our next fleet of 1,000 buses," Rai said after flagging off the bus.  This single bus will run between Delhi Secretariat to Central Secretariat from 6.30 a.m. to 9.20 p.m. and minimum fare would be Rs.10. The bus takes four hours to charge completely and runs 280 km in one full charge This "Made in China" bus is fully air conditioned and has seating capacity of 31 passengers against 41 of the DTC's low-floor CNG buses.  But its lower operational cost which was estimated around Rs.12.06 per KM, adjustable hydraulic suspension makes it more passenger friendly especially for the differently-abled people.  The initiative to run this electric bus was taken by the Delhi Dialogue Commission after its vice chairperson Ashish Khetan visited China last year.  "The Delhi government has not paid a single penny for the bus," Khetan said.  The bus was being run on promotional basis by its Chinese manufacturers BYD Auto Industry Company Ltd. and introduced in India by their technology partner, the Smart Group.  "We have only provided basic support like parking space and charging point at the Millennium Depot. We have also provided a driver and a conductor of DTC for the bus," Rai added. The unit cost of the bus to the Indian company was around Rs.3 crore, the Smart Group said.  The bus was exported by China to Gujarat. "The cost is being evaluated and it will be almost same as that of a fully AC bus. It had costed around Rs.3 crore to the company. We are looking forward to manufacture it in India under Make in India programme," said Sunil Sharma of Smart Group.