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The West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) has granted a letter of award (LoA) to Tata Motors to deploy 1,180 electric buses as part of the Grand Challenge initiative of Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL).
Tata Motors will operationalize the electric buses for WBTC as a service and develop the requisite charging infrastructure by the end of 2023.
According to CESL, Tata Motors will deploy, operate, and maintain 1,500, 1,180, and 921 e-buses in Delhi, Kolkata, and Bengaluru, respectively.
The buses will be deployed under CESL’s Grand Challenge initiative, the biggest tender floated in the country for the aggregation of e-buses in Bengaluru, Delhi, Surat, Hyderabad, and Kolkata.
The project entails procurement of four categories of e-buses — 12-meter Low-Floor AC, 12-meter Standard-Floor Non-AC, 9-meter Standard-Floor AC, and 9-meter Standard-Floor Non-AC buses. CESL will oversee the project to ensure seamless deployment as part of its program management agreement with Tata Motors.
CESL is the government-designated nodal agency for procurement and deployment of electric vehicles (EVs), including e-buses, across all government and state-run units through a homogenized process to ensure uniformity of vehicle standards and operational compatibility across Indian states.
Tata Motors had emerged as the lowest bidder in the tender invited by CESL earlier this year to select bus operators for the procurement, operation, and maintenance of 5,450 electric buses, 135 double-decker buses, and allied electric and civil infrastructure on a gross cost contract.
Managing Director and CEO of CESL Mahua Acharya said, “We are thankful to WBTC for their exemplary support in the ‘Grand Challenge’ initiative and hope that this will help in fulfilling the state government’s vision of a pollution-free, green, and sustainable region. Kolkata is on a progressive path to creating a sustainable future, and we are delighted to be a part of this journey. CESL will work with Tata motors and the Government of West Bengal for completion of this project and development of a robust EV ecosystem across the country.”
The Grand Challenge program represents e-mobility as a “service,” a relatively new and emerging business model that makes it affordable for state transport undertakings to adopt electric buses. In an industry first, the Grand Challenge tender homogenized demand for e-buses – aiming standardization of modern public mobility.