Buses in Bangalore may soon be powered by solar energy. The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has placed orders with Apoorva Renewable Energy Products to design solar-electric hybrid buses, the company CEO, Mr Suresh Babu, said on the sidelines of the Global Investors Meet 2012.

“The BMTC has asked us to provide a sample hybrid vehicle and we have accepted the order and will start working on it,” Mr Babu said.

Several other government bodies such as the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) are in talks with the company too, he said.

The company makes three-wheeled vehicles powered by electric and solar power, and customises products for Indian conditions. “Using a common technology, we design products as per customer requirements and outsource the manufacturing,” Mr Babu said.

exports

Currently, the company's vehicles are used in Delhi and parts of Karnataka and it will start exporting in two months from now.

“During the GIM expo, Ministers from Saudi Arabia, Latin America, Ghana and Europe evinced interest in our products,” Mr Babu said, adding that the company already has orders in hand from Thailand for passenger vehicles to transport schoolchildren.

The mini school bus will come equipped with GPS capability so that parents can track their children en-route to the school and will also be able to monitor movement of the vehicle real-time.

 “We are in advanced stages of talking to schools like Baldwin Boys High School for our mini school bus,” Mr Babu said.

The company makes three-wheeled nine-seaters, small cargo carriers and garbage pick up vehicles, starting Rs 75,000. “We are present only in the three wheeler segment and will not venture into other segments as there are several other big players there. Also, the audience we are targeting are the common man and the lower-end of the income pyramid who use three-wheelers,” Mr Babu said.

All the vehicles are fitted with batteries and one can switch from solar power to the batteries. The batteries, once fully charged, can cover about 120 km at a speed of 60 kmph, Mr Babu said.

With an increase in demand for the products, the company is in talks with several banks to strike deals to provide loans and financial assistance for customers, Mr Babu said. Currently, the government offers a 20 per cent subsidy on the products he added.

sushma.un@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on June 8, 2012)
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