Tata Motors are busy preparing their hybrid diesel-electric buses to be used by State Transport Undertakings for trails by 2011 end, around which time, it could also be launched.
The head of Tata Motor’s Commercial Vehicles, Ravi Pisharody, said that they are creating a hybrid diesel-electric bus. Once it is developed, they expect to witness high demand for them from STCs.
The company expects theses buses to be popular with the STCs pan India due to reduced emissions and low operating cost. While the company already operates hybrid CNG-electric buses in BEST, Mumbai and DTC, Delhi on trial, they believe that more availability of diesel will make diesel fuel hybrids more popular in India.
Another official from the company said that the hybrid diesel-electric buses are to be launched by 2011 end, and are to be priced lesser than the CNG-based hybrid buses. He however, did not give out the exact price of the buses, saying that high content of import would make them quite expensive.
Pisharody, however, said that they are yet to finalise a price for the product. They are hoping to locally manufacturer key auto parts, such as the battery, however this all depends on the demand. By mass producing it in India, the cost of it could come down significantly. They are also expecting the government to offer some policy support, especially on their hybrid and electric vehicle initiatives.
Like the CNG-based hybrid vehicles, the new hybrid diesel-electric Starbus will also feature a small diesel motor that will result in less fuel consumption and low emissions. This engine will work along with the diesel one to power it. The challenge faced by the company is regarding price reduction over conventional buses.
Pisharody also said that they have received an order from Madrid, Spain for 10 of these buses. These will supplied by the company’s fully owned subsidiary in Europe, the Hispano Carrocera.