Jammu and Kashmir has received the first fleet of electric buses procured under a central scheme.
However, the buses will hit the roads only after the model code of conduct (MCC), presently in effect due to the general elections, is over in May.
As per officials, 10 electric buses have been recently received by J&K State Road Transport Corporation from Tata Motors and 30 more similar vehicles will be added to the fleet of eco-friendly buses soon. The official said a trial run of the electric buses was held between Vijaypur to Rail Head complex area in Jammu on Saturday.
“Keeping in view the model code of conduct, the buses shall become operational only in May when the Lok Sabha elections are over,” the official said adding that 20 buses each will be plying on Kashmir and Jammu roads.
The corporation is procuring these 40 electric buses under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme of the central government. Each bus branded ‘New Horizon Vehicle’ is 30-32 seater, costing around Rs 1 crore.
“They have been manufactured in a special plant at Karnataka,” said the official adding that a special team of JKSRTC officials also visited Karnataka recently to review the manufacturing of the buses.
The air and noise pollution free electric buses will run on different routes in both Kashmir and Jammu divisions, the official said.
Before commencing the operations of these buses, the Tata Motors will train the JKSRTC drivers while workshops will also be conducted to impart training to the mechanical staff about handling and maintenance. “Tata Motors apart from supplying the buses will be responsible for the after-sale service,” the official said.
“Seating arrangement in these buses will depend on what the state requires. It can be customized as per the needs of the place. The seats can be reclining, straight and even vary in seat size,” he said.
“We are supplying the buses with a feature called ‘fast charging’. While as in ‘slow charging’ features, the charging time is 5-6 hours which can be done when the vehicle halts during the night,” he said, adding, with one full-charge, a bus runs almost 150 kilometres.
60 percent funding for the electric buses is being provided by centre while rest 40 percent is borne by the state, he said.
The official said the fast charging feature, with which the buses to be supplied to J&K will be laced with, will need charging time of 2-3 hours for one vehicle.
“Advantage for fast charging will be that if we operate the bus for 100 kilometers and at the time it returns to the yard, a fast charging facility is provided there. So even while the vehicle is waiting for passengers for an hour, it can simultaneously also get charged,” he said.
Another 20 electric buses will also hit the summer capital roads in days to come under the Srinagar Smart City project.