Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is set for a new experiment. Citing the unprofitability of compressed natural gas (CNG), KSRTC has opted to transform diesel buses into electric vehicles (EVs). This decision comes despite a severe financial crisis, with the corporation allocating up to Rs 20 lakh for the conversion of each bus.
In the initial phase, KSRTC plans to convert ten-year-old diesel buses into e-vehicles, with the goal of replacing at least 1,000 buses. Unlike the previous practice of discarding 15-year-old diesel buses, KSRTC intends to extend the life of these buses by replacing the engine and installing a new motor, battery, and control unit. The corporation has approached multiple companies, including Hindustan EV Motors and three international firms, for collaboration in this venture.
The e-buses are anticipated to cover a distance of 120 kilometres on a single charge, with a focus on making the batteries easily replaceable. KSRTC envisions a system where charged batteries will be stored at stations and can be attached to buses without causing delays. However, experts raise practical concerns about the feasibility of regularly replacing batteries that weigh two tonnes.