Over 80 stakeholders from national government, 18 cities, 11 public transport operating agencies, and 6 state government agencies along with leading financial institutions and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) deliberated on various opportunities to strategise action required for faster adoption of e-buses in tier II cities. The deliberations titled “Cities and Market Dialogue for an accelerated shift towards electric buses in India” was organised by ICLEI South Asia and UITP India as part of the TUMI E- Bus Mission City Network and focused on the electrification of bus transport in Indian cities.
The TUMI E-Bus Mission City Network led by ICLEI and UITP is a learning network of cities committed to accelerating the transition toward e-bus fleets within public transport systems. In India, the network consists of 11 cities and aims to help reduce air and noise pollution, as well as the CO2 emissions created by urban transport systems, and cover the cities of Bhopal, Indore, Navi Mumbai, Surat, Rajkot, Shimla, Bhubaneswar, Kochi, Panaji, Leh, and Nashik.
The government of India has launched financial incentives programmes such as FAME-I and FAME-II schemes to boost electric mobility. However, the FAME subsidies are limited to a few larger cities. Additionally, as the shift from ICE buses to E-Buses is a major technology transition for bus authorities, the workshop provided a platform to relevant stakeholders to discuss the crucial aspects related to the transition towards electric buses such as depot planning and upgradation for electric buses to reduce dead kilometers, costing and contracting clauses for electric buses, route planning and scheduling, financing options for electric buses, procurement and tendering, performance monitoring for battery.
The event provided a platform for direct discussions between city officials and OEMs along with financiers and sectoral experts which included Tata Cleantech, Kotak Infrastructure Fund, and ADB along with OEMs such as Switch Mobility and Volvo Eicher Commercial vehicles. Moreover, the dialogues provided an opportunity for peer exchange between lighthouse cities and tier II cities on experience related to performance challenges of operational electric bus fleets. It also facilitated a communication channel between stakeholders and industry coalition with a focus on funding and financing requirements of tier II cities.
The financial dialogues delved into aspects of access to commercial finance for procurement of e-buses, how to structure business proposals to access commercial finance for bus procurement, and innovative business models for operationalising e-bus fleets, especially for smaller cities. Deliberations over financial models beyond Gross Cost Contract (GCC) for procurement, green bonds market for electric buses procurement in tier II cities, and identifying short-term finance solutions for e-bus procurement were also the key talking points.
Deliberation between cities and sectoral experts shed light on the readiness to procure large electric fleets in member cities with a focus on financial capacity and infrastructure, a long-term transition roadmap for a shift towards electric buses, and interventions to improve and consolidate the performance of electric buses through batter operations and use of Integrated Thermal Management System (ITMS).
The sessions were followed by a site visit to e-bus Rajghat Depot in Delhi to demystify the complexity involved in fast-charging infrastructure for e-buses. The visit was been hosted by DTC and the technical team of DIMTS.