As part of measures to check air pollution, the Tamil Nadu government on Monday unveiled a battery-powered electric air-conditioned bus that would be operated on specific routes by the Metropolitan Transport Corporation. Built by Hinduja Group flagship firm Ashok Leyland, the roll-out of the bus comes against the backdrop of the state government signing a memorandum of understanding with the London-based 'C-40 Cities Climate Leadership Group" in March 2018.
Accordingly, the Centre has given its consent to the government to operate 525 electric buses in Chennai, Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli, Madurai, Erode, Tiruppur, Salem, Vellore and Thanjavur. Chief Minister K Palaniswami flagged off the electric bus at the Secretariat here. The bus that can seat 32 people is equipped with a host of features including air suspension facilities, GPS facility besides automatic doors.
The electric buses are fitted with 'fire detection and suppression system' and can travel up to 120 km on a single charge. Palaniswami, his deputy, O Panneerselvam, Transport Minister M R Vijayabhaskar and a host of ministers and government officials travelled in the bus for a few km from the Secretariat as part of the launch ceremony. An Ashok Leyland official said, "the bus has no gearbox, no engine and (hence) no pollution."
The buses would be run for three to four months on a trial basis. The Tamil Nadu government has been pitching for vehicles that are run on alternative sources of energy. Recently, Palaniswami had unveiled an electric car' KONA' manufactured by Korean-auto maker Hyundai at the Secretariat. Ashok Leyland had unveiled the electric bus 'CIRCUIT' designed and engineered in India "with a zero-emission vehicle suitable for Indian road and load conditions", last year.