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There are many interesting aspects of a Bus as an electrical vehicle.1. The bus has enough surface area on the roof and on both sides (up to the height of the wheel) to carry a high density of solar panels. The height of the windows can be reduced to enable more solar panels to be fixed on to the sides.
2. The Main bus stations or Depots usually have large area where the bus is parked during route-change and driver-change. These large open areas can be covered solar paneled thereby providing shade to the customers waiting and also creating electricity.
3. The Routes the Bus travels are usually one to two hour long. At the end of the route they park the bus and the driver goes away for refreshment, toilet or lunch break or till some other driver takes over. This whole process usually 30minutes. Thus the bus will be grid charged for 30 minutes every 2nd hour and at the same time bus will gets solar charged for 10 to 12 hrs while the sun is up.
4. The higher seating position of the passengers allows a huge space below the floor to place batteries.
5. All bus stops can be converted to solar paneled shades.
6. School buses make perfect Solar-charged Electric Vehicles as these buses are used for a maximum of 2 hrs in the morning to pickup kids from school and 2 hours in the afternoon to drop them back home. Rest of the time it is parked. These buses can be parked either in the open sun or under solar shaded parking and charge their batteries.
7. Buses do not travel above 100 kmph thus making them more suitable and safer for Electric Battery use.
Non-Air-Conditioned Buses:The cons described for an electric bus is that when the bus is stuck in Traffic its electricity is wasted due to the running of Air-conditioning system. This is generally termed “inefficient use of energy”. This problem can be avoided by:
1. Reducing the size of the windows to ¼ its current size,
It is only when the air conditioner is taken into consideration that the problem of efficient utilization comes up. But still in my opinion there is nothing wasted even when the bus is stationary because the bus is CREATING its own energy while in comparison a diesel bus would be CONSUMING energy. So how can there be any waste? Therefore the statement “inefficient use of energy” is very lame excuse if not a stupid statement to make in favor of Petrol/Diesel vehicles.
The biggest discomfort of a diesel bus is the engine induced vibration that really shakes one to the bone. So spending a long time in a diesel bus could really be a downer. The biggest benefactor from Electric Buses would be the Tourist Industry as then the buses would be truly luxurious, noise free and vibration free. The ride quality would also improve massively. I still remember my 6 hours bus ride by Volvo and multi axle Mercedes bus from Mumbai to Mahableshwar and back. The seats were cosy and comfortable but once the engine was turned on everything the seat, the window, the floor everything was vibrating because of the vibration induced by the diesel engine. Whenever I used to rest my head back on the headrest to sleep I could feel my head go bang-bang-bang on the seat. It was very uncomfortable ride even when the bus was stationary. It was like I was inside a giant vibrator!The Indian Government had in fact in the year 2011 tried to introduce Electric Buses and had tried the idea out via a complicated procedure of expecting BHEL and Toyota to create a JV partnership and then expecting them to introduce the electric buses. BHEL and Toyota are giants in their own field so its like asking Microsoft and Apple to form a joint venture in order to create a brand new mobile phone for IBM. Anybody expecting such a venture to form… must be pushed down from Mount Everest.
What is so complicated to make battery vehicle really beats me?!?! The Govt. of India, a country that regularly sends rockets into space and creates its own complicated AC/DC railway engines, missiles and submarines cannot make an Electric Bus? They need Toyota to do this? Toyota, although are the No.1 car manufacturer in the World it still makes teeny-weeny cars in comparison to the higher capacity and more complicated Railway engines that BHEL makes. I think they were expecting some big bribe money from Toyota to change hands and which did not happen so we don’t have Electric Buses.
Of late images have been captured of Mahindra testing its inter-state Volvo type test mule. So there is a distant possibility of Mahindra introducing Electric buses. If they don’t some other foreign company will surely come as there are many companies introducing Electric Buses. One of the biggest player is the BYD Electric Bus Manufacturer.
Features of BYD Electric Buses:
· 12 meters long.
· Electronically controlled air suspension.
· Low-floor and ample space to allow easy passenger loading and unloading.
· The front windscreen occupies 2/3 of the front face of the bus for maximum viewing and safety.
· The silver body with black side windows gives the electric bus an elegant exterior.
· Exquisite adjustable leather seating for driver.
· High-quality red and black leather seats for passengers.
· Carefully engineered sound insulation for a much quieter cabin experience.
· The “Fe” battery used on the bus is non-polluting, and the chemical materials contained in the battery can be recycled.
· The solar cells installed on top of electric bus can supply more power to supplement the Fe battery.http://www.byd.com/na/auto/ElectricBus.html#
The cost saving of an Electric Bus is mind boggling!
Suppose a bus travels only 100 Kilometers per day and the bus has an average of 25 Ltrs per 100kms.
Thus each bus will need 25 ltrs of diesel each day. Usually each bus operator has more than 10 Buses, but now we will calculate for only one bus. Therefore in a month it will need (25Ltrs x 30 days) 750 ltrs of Diesel. The cost of a liter of Diesel is Rs 52 so Rs 52 x 750 ltrs = Rs 39,000. In a year it will cost Rs 39,000 x 12 months= 4,68,000.
Conclusion = Huge Savings:
Rs 4,68,000 per year is a huge saving for ANY Bus operator! Especially when you take into consideration that the cost of a 54 Seat TATA Starbus is only Rs 14,00,000. Bus fleet operators like BEST that run Non-Air-conditioned buses can save hundreds of cores per year. The country can save millions of rupees of Foreign Exchange by instructing all Government Bus operators to turn into Electric Buses Immediately. and to change all bus stops and bus station/depots into Solar Paneled roof depots. This task has to be done on a War footing.