eBuzz K6, an electric bus developed by a joint venture between Hyderabad-based bus maker Goldstone Infratech and China’s electric vehicle maker, BYD Auto Industry, has been launched by Ananth Geete, Union minister for heavy Industries and public enterprises.

The JV called BYD-Goldstone, which will deliver five units of the first ‘Made in India’ zero-emission electric feeder bus to Nepal, hopes to launch the model in neighbouring countries in the coming months. The 18-seater eBuzz K6, which runs up to 200km on a single charge, will serve as last-mile-connectivity, or feeder, buses on the Lumbini Tourism lines in Nepal

“We are going to introduce and adopt the latest technology in India, make the product in India and export overseas. We are greatly encouraged by the quality of electric buses that are being manufactured in India by Goldstone and these manufacturing facilities in India will be used for export to SAARC Countries. ‘eBuzz K6’ to be supplied to Nepal is a step in that direction. We are committed to making vehicles that are not only environment friendly but also help in greatly reducing the carbon footprint,” said Zhang Jie, executive director, BYD India. Founded in February 1995, BYD started out with rechargeable battery business in China, but is currently the only automaker in the world that makes batteries too.

Geete said that India will soon be able to manufacture lithium-ion batteries without depending on China. Currently, the batteries, which cost Rs 50 lakh to 60 lakh, are imported from China for manufacturing e-buses.

“Steps have already been taken up by the government to start manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries in India. There is a need to migrate from petrol and diesel to electric mobility in view of rising pollution concerns. The government has given highest priority to convert public transport to electric mobility under FAME II to boost electric mobility in India,” Geete told reporters at the launch on Wednesday.

In December last year, the department of heavy industries had sanctioned Rs 440 crore to 11 states for procurement of electric buses, electric taxis and e-autos under a pilot project of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India (FAME India) scheme.

BYD-Goldstone, which had supplied 25 passenger electric buses to Himachal Road Transport Corporation in September and six electric buses to Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport in Mumbai in November 2017, is looking to supply eBuzz K6 and its passenger buses to other states. Passenger buses have more capacity than feeder buses.

eBuzz K6 is expected to debut in Bengaluru, Delhi, Chandigarh, Goa, Rajkot and Hyderabad in the next few months, according to BYD-Goldstone.

“Our focus has not only been to ‘Make in India’ but also ‘Made for India’ to meet the requirements of our diversity in the landscapes and terrains of the country. Our proven ability to build customized, robust, yet sophisticated electric buses with utmost passenger comfort will enable us to meet the requirements of markets abroad too,” Naga Satyam, executive director, Goldstone Infratech said

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