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Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019

Mumbai gets eco-friendly buses, but unlikely to see electric taxis anytime soon

The price of a basic electric car is 2.5 times that of cars currently used in the traditional black-and-yellow taxi fleet, Khatua panel said.

mumbai Updated: Nov 12, 2017 00:34 IST
Kailash Korde
Kailash Korde
Hindustan Times
The Khatua panel has recommended that the use of electric cars as taxis be encouraged.
The Khatua panel has recommended that the use of electric cars as taxis be encouraged.(HT File)

Though electric buses returned to the city on Saturday, after a gap of 45 years, Mumbaiites might have to wait little longer to hail an e-taxi. A panel appointed to fix the fares of conventional taxis and autos, app-based cabs and electric taxis submitted a report saying that black and yellow e-taxis were neither feasible nor affordable owing to technical, financial and operational issues.

“The price of a base model is Rs12 lakh — more than two-and-half times the cost of an average car. Hence, the current prices are unattractive to prospective taxi drivers,” states the report that the panel, led by retired bureaucrat B C Khatua, submitted to the government a month ago.

The panel added that the high cost of batteries, China’s monopoly on lithium, long charging hours, charging at commercial electricity rate, high cost of infrastructure such as charging stations, are the main practical and commercial constraints for e-taxis.

The state has not yet accepted the panel’s recommendations.

“The committee hopes that if the current constraints are remedied, the introduction of e-taxis will be a boon to the environment and needs to be encouraged,” said Khatua.

A leading app-based taxi aggregator launched 200 e-taxis in Nagpur, a few months go

Unlike vehicles run on fossil fuel, electric vehicles are noiseless and smokeless. Hence, the government is keen on introducing these vehicles in the state soon.

It has allowed people to register e-taxis and e-rickshaws on existing black-and-yellow taxi or autorickshaw permits.

The state transport authority has allowed battery-operated e-cars to register as e-taxis, provided that they have a power capacity of 980cc or more.

BEST has bought total six e-buses, each costing around 1.63 Crores, from the Rs 10 Crore fund given by civic body. The buses are capable of running 200 km in single charge of its four batteries for about 3.5 hours. The engine, gear and clutch less buses get motion from two electric motors, without any emitting any smoke or noise. The buses were inducted in the service of the Best at a function on Friday.

BEST has announced to ply those on seven routes in south Mumbai connecting CSMT, Churchgate and Nariman Paint from Saturday.