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Retrofitted Buses Are 32.1% More Cost-Effective Than A New EV Bus: Report A 9-metre retrofitted bus costs INR 19 per km, a 12-metre retrofitted bus with two batteries costs nearly INR 22 per km and a 12-metre retrofitted bus with three batteries costs marginally more than INR 23 per km.

By Priyanka Tanwer

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Photo Curtesy: Inhouse

A retrofitted 9-meter bus is 32.1 per cent more cost-effective than a new EV bus, revealed in a Joint study 'Retrofitting of Inter-City Diesel Passenger Buses: An Economic Anaysis and Policy Prescriptions,'by the Foundation for Economic growth and Welfare (EGROW Foundation) and Primus Partners

As per the report, a standard retrofit on a 9-meter bus reduces the cost per kilometre by approximately 34.48 per cent compared to an ICE bus. "If India retrofits 20,000 buses annually, it can save about 500,000 tons of diesel and reduce crude oil imports by 12.7 million barrels yearly. The industry can also contribute substantially to India's goal of creating 30-35 million new green jobs by 2047," it added.

Dr. Charan Singh, Chief Executive Office at EGROW Foundation and Davinder Sandhu, Chairperson, Primus Partners in their foreword wrote, "The economic benefits of this approach are profound, extending beyond mere financial savings to broader economic revitalization and environmental improvements. Retrofitting offers a pragmatic solution, leveraging existing infrastructure while transitioning towards cleaner mobility. It represents a critical step towards sustainable urban transport, demonstrating how innovation and policy alignment can drive tangible progress."

The joint report notes the number of Indian buses is expected to reach 3 million by 2030, which requires a shift to greener technologies, particularly in pollution-intensive domains like transport. The comprehensive analysis advocates an integrated strategic approach involving policy reforms, financial support from the government and technological advancement to overcome the barriers of retrofitting diesel buses.

According to the data, retrofitted buses promise major output on RoI. For a 9-metre retrofitted bus with an extended life of 10 years, the cost per km declines to less than INR 15. Using the same calculation, the cost per km for a 12-metre bus with two batteries is less than INR 17 and less than INR 19 for a 12-metre bus with three batteries.

More than 75 per cent of domestic electricity currently comes from coal-based thermal power. To execute an effective decarbonisation strategy for India's transport sector, the electricity used in the retrofitted buses must come from renewable sources rather than fossil fuels.

The findings recommend specific policies to increase retrofitted bus numbers in India. Implementing a scaled pilot project aimed at converting existing ICE buses into EVs across different regions is an important step.

On the monetary side, rebating GST norms for retrofitting vehicles and used components is critical to spreading awareness. State-level Retrofit EV Policies should be introduced to support retrofitting, including interest rate subsidies and charging infrastructure development.

Priyanka Tanwer

Sr. Correspondent

With eight years of experience covering various beats for the digital and print media, now covering electric vehicles and sustainability for Entrepreneur India, keeping a nose for innovation and new technology in this futuristic sector. You can reach me at tpriyanka@entrepreneurindia.com     
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