Himachal Pradesh begins trial run of electric buses on Rohtang route

State's first electric bus depot in Dharamshala


MANALI: Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday started the trial run of electric bus on the 51km-stretch of Manali-Rohtang highway. State transport minister G S Bali, who flagged off a 24-seater bus from Manali, took the ride till Kothi, 14km from here. The bus trial run will be held for 10 days, after which technical committee will submit a report.

However, the bus, filled to capacity, could not make it to 13,050ft high Rohtang Pass due to tyre puncture near Kothi and had to return to Manali.

NGT had ordered state government to run CNG and electric vehicles to ecologically fragile mountain pass to reduce pollution in the area. Saying that transporting CNG to Manali is not easy and the procedure would take a little more time, the government is first trying to introduce electric buses.

“It is proud moment as the state would be the first in India, or perhaps the first hill station, to run electric buses. If the trial run is successful, more trials will be carried out on different routes and electric buses will run everywhere in the state,” Bali said. He added that tenders to buy 25 electric buses will be floated soon. A 10-member team and technical institutions, including IIT, are monitoring the trial runs. HRTC regional manager Pawan Kumar said ,”The 24-seater bus requires 100 KVA electric charger and two charging points have been installed at Manali and Marhi.It can run for about 200km after charging for 2 hours.”TNN On Tuesday, the bus consumed 16% battery to reach Marhi,” he said. Meanwhile, Him-Aanchal taxi operators union members, who see electric buses as threat to their job, were assured by Bali that their business will not be affected.
Taxi drivers earlier claimed that CNG was better option than electric buses and they were ready to convert their taxi engines to CNG compatible engines. A successful trial run on CNG bus was carried out on July 21, 2015.