Even as Tata Motors goes ahead with its hybrid bus project it looks forward to the government support for its fuel efficiency and relatively less CO2 emission. Tata Motors claims that its compressed natural gas (CNG) plus electric hybrid bus, which comes fitted with start-stop technology, will offer 22% higher mileage and thus reduce emission by the same level.But what stands in the way of commercialisation of hybrid buses is its huge cost. "A hybrid bus costs Rs 1 crore. State transport undertakings find the Rs 35 lakh price differential between hybrid bus and a diesel-run bus so huge," said Ravi Pisharody, president, commercial vehicles, Tata Motors.
“Although the savings on account of greater fuel mileage help them cover a part of the initial cost, it is not enough from the transport organisations’ point of view. Therefore, India should follow what many other countries are doing,” said Pisharody.
“Many subsidise the purchase of hybrid buses for city transport for the reduction of atmospheric pollution it guarantees,” he added.
Many cities in the US and Europe are buying hybrid buses on government subsidy. Many Chinese cities too encourage hybrid buses by way of subsidy.
Tata Motors, which brought out hybrid buses recently, looks forward to the government initiatives such as national mission on hybrid and electric vehicle announced in the budget 2011-12 and will encourage such vehicles.
The company gave two hybrid buses to Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) during the Commonwealth Games 2010 and two to Brihan Mumbai Electric and Transport Undertaking (BEST) mainly for demonstration purpose. Tata Motors’ Spanish subsidiary Tata Hispano Buses bagged orders for 10 hybrid buses from MadridCitytransportation company EMT.
The imported contents, mainly batteries, make hybrid buses costlier in India. “We are trying to bring down the cost,” he said. The company is currently taking feedbacks from BEST and DTC, besides drivers and passengers as it tests hybrid bus in Mumbai and Delhi.