Gadkari launches electric double-decker bus in Mumbai
Mumbai, August 18, 2022
Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari launched an electricity-powered double-decker bus in Mumbai today.
"There is a need to transform the country's transport system, looking from a long-term perspective. With a focus on reforming urban transport, we are trying to build a low carbon footprint and high passenger density integrated Electric Vehicle (EV) mobility ecosystem," Gadkari said at the launch of the bus named Switch EiV 22.
"With growing consumer demand for greener transport solutions, the Government's vision and policies aim to encourage higher adoption of electric vehicles," he said.
According to the bus manufacturer Ashok Leyland, Switch EiV 22 is the first electric double-decker air-conditioned bus, designed, developed and manufactured in India. The bus incorporates the latest technology and ultra-modern design along with the highest safety and best-in-class comfort features, the company said.
Sharing his vision for the Delhi-Mumbai Express Highway, Gadkari said, “My plan is to connect Nariman Point to Delhi. Almost 70% of work has already been completed.” Exhorting the automobile companies, he said, “Let us plan luxury electric buses that can travel from Mumbai to Delhi in just 12 hours.”
He said electricity as an automobile fuel was highly cost-effective when compared to other fuels like diesel. “Import of crude oil is a big challenge for the Government. Use of solar power has reduced the cost of electricity to a large extent,” he added.
The Minister said 35% of pollution in the country was due to diesel and petrol. In this context, the Minister highlighted the need for import-substituting, cost-effective, pollution-free and indigenous products. “It is time for India to start using alternative fuels like electricity, ethanol, methanol, bio-diesel, bio-CNG, bio-LNG and green hydrogen for the automobile sector,” he said.
“My dream is to take the automobile industry from the current size of Rs 7.5 lakh crore to Rs. 15 lakh crore by the end of the year 2024. This is an achievable target,” he said.
The sector has maximum employment potential and gives maximum taxes to central and state governments, he said.
According to the manufacturer, the Switch double-decker can ferry nearly twice the number of seated passengers as compared to a single-decker bus, with just an 18% increase in kerb weight (without the passengers).
The bus has wide front and rear doors, two staircases and an emergency door complying with the latest safety standards. The air-conditioning offers effective cooling in India's hot climatic conditions, while the optimized seating for 65 passengers is the maximum number of seats to be offered in the given footprint.
Each seat has a lightweight cushion and the interiors come with car-like comfort for passenger convenience. This double-decker serves as an ideal solution for urban commuting, as they occupy less road, terminal and depot floor space per seated passenger, the company added.