Electric buses have been gaining acceptance as public transport in some cities around the world. In India, electric buses have been experimented with in Bangalore and recently in New Delhi. The most popular electric bus company is Hong Kong based BYD where Warren Buffer is an investor. Their buses are being used in London, South Korea, Chile, USA and many parts of the world.
Electric buses are great for cities with dense traffic. Diesel buses are noisy and emit bad-for-lungs soot and other pollutants directly on the city streets. Electric buses have regenerative braking which helps vehicles recover the kinetic energy of motion that would otherwise be lost during braking. The motor acts as generator once the accelerator is let go. This can recover 20 percent more range and prolongs the life of the brake pads. An electric bus like the BYD E9 has a healthy range of 250 km per charge (considering predictable routes of buses is more than adequate for a day’s running). Ideally, electric buses can be charged overnight or have short quick top up charges at stops. Charging can be done wirelessly too – ideal for stops.
An electric bus costs only 4 INR per km to operate compared to 20 INR for polluting diesels. There is hardly any maintenance cost in electric vehicles. Unlike diesel buses, there are no oil or air filters, engine oil changes, turbochargers, pistons etc. The only moving part is in the electric motor. Less service time means a lot of savings for heavy vehicles such as buses. Also, efficiency stays optimum as there is no clogging of filters. Another major saving is in the form of zero energy spent while idling during stops. Electric motors are more suited to high torque conditions which, along with regenerative braking and zero idling energy, make them ideal for start-stop city traffic.
Did we say that electric buses are noise-free and have zero tailpipe emissions too?