Tamil Nadu to get 2,000 electric buses with German aid

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The Tamil Nadu government will purchase 2,000 low-maintenance, battery-operated buses as part of its endeavor to adopt environmentally-friendly public transport. The buses would run in Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai in the first phase of their deployment.

For the purchase, the state government is planning to borrow from German state-owned development bank KfW at 2% interest, transport minister MR Vijayabhaskar told the Times of India newspaper.

The news comes after interim finance minister Piyush Goyal announced recently “India will lead the world in transport revolution through use of electric vehicles and energy storage solutions. This will help in cutting down costly imports of oil, enhance energy security and lead to savings of foreign exchange.”

In a move to boost Make In India, and thus enable faster adoption of electric vehicles, the Indian government recently reduced customs duty on EV parts and components, from 15-30% to 10-15%.

Only 260,000 EVs operate on Indian roads, the majority of them two-wheelers. By contrast, China had a stock of 1.8 million EVs and 258 million e-bikes at the end of last year, according to a report by Wood Mackenzie.

This year is set to be an important one for Indian electric transport, as the final version of the National Auto Policy will be issued, along with the second phase of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of [Hybrid and] Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme.