While electric car specialist Tesla is planning to enter India and India's only EV brand Mahindra Electric gearing up to bolster its presence in the country, homegrown automaker Tata Motors went a step further by starting pilot run for its electric bus.
Tata Motors in association with Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) and Chandigarh Transport Department has started the process of introducing electric buses under its Smart City plan. Tata's electric bus, christened Ultra Electric, is nine-metre long and has a capacity of 31 seats.
The joint operation will see Ultra Electric running on Chandigarh roads for a span of over 15 days. The pilot run is the continuation of yet another test run from Parwanoo to Shimla a few weeks ago, in which the Tata bus covered 160 kilometres in a full charge. The trials are part of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways' vision for the electrification of public transport. Tata Motors is a major automaker in the mission with electric vehicles from nine to 12 meters with various seating configurations.
Tata Motors had unveiled Ultra Electric at Auto Expo 2016. The complete electric drivetrain and zero emissions bus is based on the Tata Ultra platform. It boasts of a wide passageway for free movement, wider window panes for better visibility along with Super Low Floor (SLF) of 650 mm. The Ultra Electric coaches are fitted with CCTV cameras and Intelligence Transport Systems (ITS) for public information through GPS via electronic destination display boards.
Earlier this month, Tata Motors had confirmed testing of its electric bus during the conversation between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and executive chairman of Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra. While Anand Mahindra invited Tesla to India on Twitter, Tata Motors joined the repartee by tweeting "Sending an electric bus to pick you both up!"
Tata Motors is also leading in hybridization of passenger transportation in India. The first set of ultra-modern, low floor hybrid buses is soon going to be delivered to Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).