The prospect of significantly lower operational expenses has the Delhi Transport Corporation veering towards the idea of replacing at least a part of its CNG fleet with electric buses.
Four months after the agency loaned one such bus from a Chinese company on a trial basis, an internal DTC
report has concluded that its overall cost of operation is much lower
than a CNG-run bus due to "very low maintenance/repair cost". Zero
emission and lower manpower requirement are two other features that have
The operational cost of the electric bus
was found to be Rs 17.25/km. In contrast, a CNG AC bus costs DTC Rs
18.54 per km. A senior government official said, "On average, the
electric bus ran 250km on a single charge." It consumed 27,368 units in
the four-month period, which comes to an average unit rate of Rs 10.66
for the 16,915km it covered.
The price of CNG in the capital currently stands at Rs 35.59/kg. A CNG
bus gives a mileage of 1.95km/kg and also requires higher maintenance.
"The low-floor buses are under an annual maintenance contract with the
manufacturer. The corporation pays Rs 3.5-12 a km. The rate increases
every year," said the official quoted above.
The bus didn't report any breakdown during the trial, largely because
there's no engine or transmission system. Only the battery needs
The DTC, of course, will need to invest a hefty amount to begin with,
as one bus will cost more than Rs 2 crore. But the official said: "The
buses, when available commercially, will cost approximately the same
their CNG counterparts. They will basically be assembled in India." A
CNG bus costs around Rs 70-80 lakh. Interestingly, under a central
scheme, the purchase of electric bus is subsidised.