Tata Motors launches Hybrid & Electric buses in India

Tata Motors has launched a series of eco-friendly buses in India. This range includes Starbus Hybrid (12 m) and Ultra Starbus Electric (9 m & 12 m). The company has also showcased India's first fuel cell bus (12 m), an LNG-powered bus and an articulated bus (18 m).

The Starbus Hybrid uses an electric-diesel powertrain that works in a series hybrid layout. The diesel engine is BSIV compliant. It is built on a modular platform and is complaint with all UBS-II (Urban Bus Specifications), AIS 051 (Automotive Industry Standards) and CMVR (Central Motor Vehicle Rules). It uses lithium ion phosphate batteries to power the electric motors. Features on offer include electronically controlled air suspension, electronically controlled brakes, automatic transmission and regenerative braking system. Tata Motors claims that during an average city trip, the hybrid bus runs on pure electric mode for 30-35% of the total travel duration and thus reduces fuel consumption by 25-30%.

The Electric bus is built on Tata Motors' Ultra platform and is available in two variants - 9 m and 12 m. It has a semi-low floor of 650 mm. The Starbus Electric bus comes with CCTV cameras and telematics. It also features a GPS-enabled Intelligent Transport System (ITS), which indicates its expected time of arrival at all route bus stops.

The automaker has also showcased the Starbus Fuel Cell bus, which was unveiled at the 2012 Auto Expo. It uses a hydrogen fuel cell, which combines compressed hydrogen with oxygen from the air to produce electricity. The bus has been developed in association with ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation).

Meanwhile, the 18-metre long articulated bus showcased by Tata Motors, is an attempt to increase the capacity of city transport buses from 50-80 passengers to around 120 passengers. Since articulated buses come with more doors that are also larger in size, they offer rapid simultaneous boarding and disembarking capabilities. Wider doors also make them easily accessible to differently-abled passengers and the elderly. Tata Motors suggests that articulated buses are suitable for bus rapid transit systems (BRTS). Since these buses have more passenger capacity and employ less staff per passenger, they are also expected to help in enhancing revenue.

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