A lithium-ion battery — similar to the one used to power satellite launchers - could soon be used to power a bus to ferry Members of Parliament in Delhi.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) adapted the battery for the bus at the Centre’s request as a pilot project. If the project clicks, it could change the way India travels.
“One such bus is expected to be ready for use in a couple of months from now. I plan to get it gifted from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Lok Sabha speaker so that it is used to ferry the MPs,” transport minister Nitin Gadkari told HT.
Currently Toyota Innova cars, which run on diesel, are used to ferry MPs — those who do not have or use their cars, to and from their house to Parliament. Gadkari said the electric power run bus would be capable of operating for 200 km and can be recharged in just 30 minutes.
It would be an improvement over the existing electric motor cars available in the market that needs a 4-5 hour recharge after a run of 100-odd km.
The transport ministry has collaborated with ISRO for the project and the latter is working on developing 15 such electric buses. Gadkari along with ministry officials has held meeting with ISRO officials to discuss ways to make the electric buses economically viable. “You can anticipate breakthrough in some 6 to 12 months,” an official said.
In international markets, lithium-ion battery that can power a bus is available for Rs 50 lakh.
Gadkari said that he hit upon the idea of developing battery operated buses as pollution from diesel vehicles and the crude import bill to the tune of Rs 8 lakh crore every year have become major challenges. “If we are able to shift our public transport system on this technology, it would go a long way in addressing the two problems,” he said.