Air-conditioned bus has interiors that offer car-like comfort to commuters
Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari (in blue kurta) launches India’s first electric double-decker bus in Mumbai on Thursday
Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari unveiled India’s first electric double-decker bus in Mumbai on Thursday. Manufactured by Switch Mobility – a subsidiary of Ashok Leyland, the EiV 22-class vehicle will be operated by the BEST undertaking and inducted into its Colaba and Kurla depots.
Designed, developed and made in India, the air-conditioned bus possesses cutting-edge features and has a lightweight aluminium body, which offers a higher passenger-to-weight ratio and a competitive cost per kilometre per passenger.
The interior of the bus. Pics/Ashish Raje
Highlighting the need to transform the country’s transport system, Gadkari said, “With a focus on reforming urban transport, we are trying to build a low footprint and high passenger density-integrated EV mobility ecosystem. The government’s vision and policies are supportive of EV adoption with growing consumer demand for greener solutions. I would like to congratulate Switch Mobility for being the one to revive the double-decker and remain committed to introducing new technologies for the benefit of passengers and society, at large.”
Commenting on the launch, Ashok Hinduja, chairman, Hinduja Group of Companies (India), said, “Launching the Switch EiV 22 in Mumbai today is a proud moment for the Hinduja Group.”
Dheeraj Hinduja, chairman, Switch Mobility, hailed Ashok Leyland as a pioneer for launching the double-decker in 1967 in Mumbai and said Switch was carrying forward that legacy. “With our strong expertise in double-deckers, both in India and the UK and with over 100 Switch electric double-deckers in service on UK roads, we are happy to not only bring back this icon to life, but also reinforce our commitment to creating this form factor for India and the globe,” he said.
Mahesh Babu, CEO of Switch Mobility India and COO of Switch Mobility Ltd, stated that the vehicle has been designed and developed to meet Indian conditions while at the same time providing superior customer comfort and delight. “We are certain that Switch EiV 22 will not only bring back fond memories for Mumbaikars but also transform the public transport space in terms of sustainability and footprint, which is the need of the hour in India. The bus is priced between Rs 1.8 crore and Rs 2.3 crore. We will be at two depots Colaba and Kurla where there will be charging points and other requirements. The composite aluminium structure makes the bus sturdy and it can be charged in 80 minutes.”
Switch India has secured an order of 200 such vehicles in Mumbai and is looking at a dominant space in the electric double-decker segment across key regions in the country.
No. of Switch electric double-deckers in service on UK roads
Features of the bus
. With contemporary styling and feel-good interiors and exteriors, the vehicle accommodates 65 seated passengers and boasts wide front and rear doors, two staircases and an emergency door.
. Each seat has a lightweight cushion and the interiors offer car-like comfort. These buses occupy less road, terminal and depot floor space per seated passenger.
. The vehicle’s 231 kWh capacity, two-string, liquid-cooled, higher density NMC chemistry battery pack with dual gun charging system enables it to have a range of up to 250 km for intra-city applications.