The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) will launch 10 zero-emission and noiseless air-conditioned battery electric vehicles (BEVs) on the Thiruvananthapuram- Ernakulam-Thiruvananthapuram route from February 1.
The environment-friendly Olectra-BYD’s electric bus, manufactured under the ‘Make in India’ initiative and wet-leased by the KSRTC for 10 years, is being deployed on the corridor after its successful chain service operations from November 17 on the Nilackal-Pampa-Nilackal corridor for Sabarimala pilgrims.
The low-floor buses will stop only at Attingal, Karunagapally, Kollam, Kayamkulam, Haripad and Alappuzha and the fares will be on a par with those levied in the low-floor air-conditioned Volvo buses.
There will be no conductor on these buses. Tickets will be available from the eight bus stations where the buses will halt. The BEVs will return from Nilackal to the capital by Monday with the end of the pilgrimage season in Sabarimala. The number of seats will be increased from the present 32 to 35 and refurbished for making long-distance travel comfortable for passengers. Though the BEV can attain a speed of 120 km per hour, the speed will be restricted to 80 km per hour.
On an average, the BEVs operated 360 km daily on the Nilackal-Pampa corridor. From the services, the KSRTC got a profit of ₹57 a km, including the electricity cost, out of the fare collection of ₹110 a km. Only 0.8 unit of electricity is needed for the BEV to run a kilometre. Compared to the operational cost of ₹31 a km for HSD-powered buses, the BEVs operational cost is ₹6.
With one charging, which will need three to four hours, the buses can run up to 300 km. “We have set up charging facility at Haripad and two others are in the pipeline at Alappuzha and Ernakulam. A 10-minute charging will provide 25% power,” a KSRTC official said.
The 9-metre-long eBuzz K9 buses were manufactured in a plant near Hyderabad by Olectra Greentech in a tie-up with BYD Auto Industry Co Ltd, an electric vehicle company.
The Mumbai-based Maha Voyage LLP had provided the buses by quoting the lowest of ₹ 43.20 per km. The KSRTC will get a net balance of ₹6,540 per bus daily after electricity cost and wet lease amount.