Global Report Showcases Success of E-Buses Deployment in Kolkata

Global Report Showcases Success of E-Buses Deployment in Kolkata

As part of its extensive work on EVs, IEA as a part of its latest flagship report has presented a case study showcasing the success of e-buses in Kolkata

E-buses Kolkata


As part of its extensive work on electric vehicles (EVs), the International Energy Agency (IEA) as a part of its latest flagship report – the “Global EV Outlook 2020”, also presented a case study on the impacts of increasing the share of electric buses (e-buses) in Kolkata, India. The report showcases the study of the deployment of e-buses in Kolkata, as well as studies from cities such as Shenzhen, China; Helsinki, Finland; and Santiago, Chile.

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) conducted the case study with support from the IEA, the West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC), and the Department of Transport, Government of West Bengal.

The study stated that currently, a third of particulate matter pollutants from transport in Kolkata come from buses, due to the comparatively high pollution associated with the conventional fleet. However, since 2019, the WBTC has introduced 80 domestically manufactured e-buses and a further 150 will enter service in the mid-term, with the aim to fully electrify the fleet by 2030, which would entail 5,000 e-buses in operation. Increased deployment of e-buses like these also incentivises local manufacturing and stimulates the industry to move towards electrification.

“Electrification of public transport is an effective way to bring down air-pollution levels in cities, and e-buses are one of the most potent solutions to initiate this transition to sustainable at-scale mobility. TERI is delighted on the launch of its case study on the successful implementation and operation of the e-buses model in Kolkata. The support received from the WBTC as well as from Government of West Bengal for this study is deeply appreciated,” said Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, TERI.

Expanding the e-buses fleet can directly lead to cleaner air locally, as well as contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By 2030, it is expected that the e-buses will reduce annual CO2 emissions by almost 200,000 tonnes. Furthermore, the WBTC is planning to solarise bus depots along with the use of battery storage, thereby further contributing to decarbonising the transport system.

Prabhat Kumar Mishra (IAS), Principal Secretary, Department of Transport, Government of West Bengal, said, “Kolkata’s transportation network is diverse and has been running for centuries. Kolkata has been a pioneer in e-mobility and we would like to increase this for a better environment.”

Aside from cutting down on air pollution, the transition to electric public transport also makes financial sense since battery-operated buses are cheaper to run, at a third of the operational costs of a diesel bus. With large scale deployment, it is envisaged that even the capital costs of these buses, which are currently high, will come down in the near future, as seen in other countries.

The study adds that behind the successful running of 80 e-buses in the city is a smartly planned charging station placement and operation scheme, which leverages existing infrastructure and provides both slow and fast charging options. With increasing variability in the power systems with greater deployment of renewables, e-buses could provide a smart balancing opportunity as they interact with the grid.

A further success factor has been the establishment of strategic partnerships, including close cooperation with power distribution companies that has enabled productive discussions about tariffs leading to arrangements on application of a time of day tariff system, which will be financially beneficial for the running of the e-buses. Collaboration with distribution companies has also made it possible to avoid large investments in electrical network augmentation.

“Kolkata has been passionately running tramway, an electrical mode of transport, for more than a century. Just like the trams, the city has introduced EVs with an aim to decarbonise the transport sector and pioneers nationally in the operations of e-buses for public transport. In the future, WBTC would be increasing the number of e-buses in the streets of Kolkata and surrounding areas with an aim to reduce pollution, dependence on fossil fuels, and providing a safe and comfortable journey to the commuters,” said Rajanvir Singh Kapur (IAS), Managing Director, WBTC.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for