The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) is leading a global effort on ‘soot-free’ buses that promotes low and zero emission city bus fleets. ICCT is partnering with UITP India on a three year project funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI), Germany to accelerate India’s transition to soot-free and zero emission urban bus fleets. The project involves a long-term fleet transition plan for the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) to be a 100% electric fleet based system. Since the objectives and findings of the work are consistent with National, State and City levels goals towards 100% electrification of public transport fleets, the project seeks to share learnings with a national audience and encourage peer to peer learnings on the topic.

Therefore, a National level working group on ‘Electric buses for India’ was launched on the sidelines of the UITP training program on ‘Planning and procurement of electric buses’ held in Bangalore between February 11-12, 2019. The working group comprises of various bus agencies across India as the key members with invited private members like manufacturers, NGOs etc. on a need-basis periodically. The group constitution and its framework is modelled based on the ‘Zero Emission Bus Resource Alliance (ZEBRA) formed in the USA and Chile. The ZEBRA alliance forms a venue for various operators to come-together to share best practices and key learnings from their electric bus efforts.

State Transport Undertakings (STUs) and Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) operating buses across various states in India have shown active interest in being part of the working group. As a first step, the group will focus on the current implementation of electric buses across the country and their performance evaluation. A comparative analysis will developed and shared at the National, State and City levels to inform the technology choices for upcoming electric bus tenders.

The working group will act as a knowledge sharing platform for various city bus agencies including but not limited to energy performance of implemented electric buses, exchanging notes on tendering structures and their bids and meet periodically to advance other opportunities. As a first step, the group agreed to exchange information with each other on the performance of the electric buses inducted through the FAME I scheme. The next working group meeting will be focussed on specific opportunities like tendering, operations planning, charging infrastructure etc. which will help accelerate e-bus deployments across India.