Retrofitted Buses 32.1% Cheaper Than New EVs


The report highlights the financial and ecological benefits of retrofitting diesel buses, which are major contributors to carbon emissions.

The EGROW Foundation, a nonprofit public policy organization, in collaboration with Primus Partners, a leading Indian consultancy firm, released a detailed study today titled “Retrofitting of Inter-City Diesel Passenger Buses: An Economic Analysis and Policy Prescriptions.” This study outlines the financial and environmental benefits of retrofitting diesel buses, which significantly contribute to carbon emissions. According to the report, retrofitting a standard 9-meter bus can reduce operating costs by about 34.48% compared to a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) bus. If India retrofits 20,000 buses each year, it could save around 500,000 tons of diesel and cut crude oil imports by 12.7 million barrels annually, significantly advancing India’s aim to generate 30-35 million new green jobs by 2047.

The study also notes the robust growth of the global e-mobility market, which expanded from 2 million vehicles in 2016 to 7.2 million in 2019, reflecting a 30% increase over three years. Data for this report were collected from industry pilot programs involving bus routes between Mumbai and Pune, covering about 150 km. The research provides a detailed comparison between ICE buses and electric vehicles (EVs) to assess the cost-effectiveness and benefits of EV retrofitting and the necessity for scaled pilot implementation.

Dr. Charan Singh, CEO of the EGROW Foundation, and Mr. Davinder Sandhu, Chairperson of Primus Partners, stated in their foreword that retrofitting not only offers profound economic benefits but also contributes to broader economic revitalization and environmental improvement. This approach uses existing infrastructure to transition towards cleaner mobility, playing a vital role in sustainable urban transport.

The report predicts that the number of Indian buses will hit 3 million by 2030, necessitating a shift to greener technologies in high-pollution areas like transport. It advocates for a comprehensive strategy that includes policy reforms, government financial support, and technological advancements to facilitate the retrofitting of diesel buses.

Key findings reveal that retrofitting is significantly more cost-effective than new EVs, with a 9-meter retrofitted bus being the most economical. Furthermore, retrofitting promises substantial returns on investment, especially over an extended lifespan of 10 years. The report also highlights the necessity of using renewable energy sources for decarbonization, considering over 75% of India’s domestic electricity currently originates from coal-based power.

The study makes several policy recommendations to increase the number of retrofitted buses in India, such as revising vehicle scrapping policies, subsidizing retrofits through government coordination, and incorporating retrofitting incentives into the national FAME policy. Adjusting GST norms for retrofitting and supporting state-level policies are also suggested to promote retrofitting and facilitate the development of charging infrastructure.


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