by Ashwani Upadhyay
NEW DELHI, April 2 (Xinhua) -- For 23-year-old Supriya Katyal, a resident of south Indian metropolitan of Hyderabad, the month of March this year brought a great surprise.
On March 5, Chinese company BYD's electric buses were launched in her hometown Hyderabad.
Katyal who works with a multinational in Hyderabad often travels in and out of the city. Since the airport is almost a two-hour drive from downtown and public transport is not comfortable and suitable for her, she usually rents a cab.
However, private cabs get delayed very often, due to which she missed her flights on a few important occasions in the past.
But not anymore, said Katyal, who traveled to the airport three times over the last three weeks onboard a BYD electric bus.
"Last one month, I have been getting this bus while going back to my residence here. It's my third trip so far. It's very comfortable, very spacious and very clean," said Katyal.
She said the BYD electric buses have become her favorite public transport.
Katyal hoped more such electric buses will be deployed on other routes in the city. "Buses which are running in cities are non-air conditioning and not comfortable and they are pretty old. So we can replace them with this bus, it would be really helpful," she said.
Green mobility is one of the heated topics in India these days, and more so in the city of Hyderabad following the introduction of the electric buses by China's BYD in partnership with India's Olectra.
For the first time in India, a full-fledged 12-meter-long electric bus with 40 seats has been introduced as a principal mode of public transport. Altogether 40 electric buses are now running in Hyderabad.
Popularity of the electric buses has been growing among Indian passengers.
"I am really happy to travel in this bus for two reasons. One is that this is public transport and we are de-congesting the roads. And second is that we are on a bus which is not using fossil fuel. We are on a bus which is using battery," commuter Sushmita Kapoor told Xinhua.
The Indian government has been promoting green energy. The central government in Delhi is helping local authorities as well as individuals to buy electric vehicles (EVs), spurring a huge demand.
Kapoor, a housewife, said she was concerned about global warming. Everyone should share his or her responsibility for a clean environment, she said, adding that she was doing her bit by traveling on electric buses wherever and whenever she could.
"We are reducing our carbon emissions by traveling, helping in reducing pollution, improving climate change issues and overall improving our climate as such," she said.
Meanwhile, commuters praised the Chinese manufacturer for providing a comfortable, affordable and pollution-free ride to Indians.
BYD electric buses are currently ferrying people from various locations in Hyderabad to the international airport. The maximum cost for the longest route of 45 km comes at 265 Indian rupees (3.81 U.S. dollars) which is on par with other conventional buses plying on the route.
However, many commuters preferred electric mobility. "Whenever I go for any airport trip, I prefer to take that electric bus because I feel that by using this electric bus, we are reducing our carbon footprint or whatever pollution we are getting," said Vandana Srivastav, who often commutes by the electric bus.
"And also I feel, it is much more convenient for us in terms of luxury, in terms of air-condition cooling and all, in comparison to diesel buses and petrol buses."
She hailed the Chinese manufacturer for bringing the latest technology to India and making it affordable.
Srivastav who belongs to the new-age Indian youth hoped that the Chinese company will also bring next-generation technology to the country in the future.
"Now, they are charging batteries from depots. But in future, we can charge it from solar energy. So somehow, it will save our electricity as well for charging. So it has chances of improvisation more and it can go for long," Srivastav said.
So far, 108 electric buses by BYD have been deployed in four Indian provinces, namely Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana and Maharashtra, making the Chinese company the first in India to cross the milestone of supplying more than 100 electric buses in the country.
After the successful launch of its EVs in Hyderabad, the Chinese firm is now looking forward to supplying 500 such buses in India over the next few years.