The proposed first 'electric highway' between Sohna and Jaipur on the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway may initially be used only for bus operations.
Each 24-metre electric trolley bus would accommodate around 180 passengers and these may be operated at an interval of 10-15 minutes. At a later stage, commercial trucks would also be allowed.
The plan, which is in the works, was recently shared by Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari with mediapersons.
On Tuesday, Gadkari took a test ride in the world’s longest such electric trolley bus, developed by global automobile major Skoda in Prague.
"After successful operation, it could become a very cost-effective alternative to highly capital-intensive metro systems, especially on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) stretches where dedicated lines for this bus, similar to metro rail, would enhance public transportation infrastructure,” the minister said in a social media post.
Gadkari took a test ride in a 24 metre long world's longest overhead power electric trolley bus in Czech Republic. The bus is currently under experimentation.
Sources said Gadkari has held consultations on the plan to roll out such buses on the Sohna-Jaipur corridor of the newly-built expressway.
They added that issues such as placement of substations at regular intervals for uninterrupted power supply and other technical requirements for operating such buses are being worked out.
They said since the overhead power supply will be for specific lanes on the expressway, some gap has to be maintained between two such trolley buses.
The minister last week said the electric trolley buses will have business class seats and cover the stretch in less than two-and-a-half hours.
He said the government plans to take it up on build-operate-transfer (BOT) model in which the private players will put their funds and recover the investment from fares.
Gadkari said he was confident of project viability considering that while an electric bus with lithium-ion battery costs around Rs 1.1 crore, each electric trolley bus would cost around Rs 80 lakh.
He said the government will also try to bring down the electricity charges for running these buses.
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