In October 2017, Shimla became the first city in India to launch the electric buses for commercial use. Now, Mumbai has become the second city in India to launch a fleet of 6 electric buses for passenger service. BEST (Mumbai Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport) has flagged off 6 e-Buzz K7 electric buses on 11 November 2017. The buses are supplied by Goldstone Infratech, a joint venture between Hyderabad's Goldstone Group and China's auto manufacturer BYD.
The buses will be operated in Mumbai and will promote emission-free transport. The new e-buses will be running on existing routes around Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSTM) and Churchgate station including route number 138 from Backbay depot to CSMT and the Fort Ferry route. While the range is limited, the e-buses are being charged using fast charging stations, which is currently set up at BEST's Backbay Depot and can fully charge the vehicle in 3-4 hours. The company also says that the new buses run at a cost of ₹ 8 per km, which is almost half when compared to CNG buses that run at a cost of ₹ 15 per km. Diesel buses run at a cost of ₹ 20 per km.
(Photo: CarAndBike, NDTV)
The electric buses were purchases for ₹ 1.61 crore each. However, the project is not supported under FAME Scheme. The government has spent INR 10 crores by the Government of Maharasthra and will procure more buses based on the operation experience of existing buses. The maintenance of the buses will be done by BEST only. E-Buzz K7 electric buses can cover up to 200 km in a single charge with speeds up to 70 kmph. The buses can carry up to 31 passengers.
BEST Mumbai is planning to procure 200 more electric buses to expand clean transport in the city. The corporation is conducting stakeholders meeting to finalise the city's requirement.