Goldstone to make electric buses

(From left) Ketsu Zhang GM, BYD India with Dr P S Prasad (Goldstone Group), BYD India Chairman Liu Xueliang, Goldstone Vice-President N Naga Satyam and Goldstone-Electric Bus CEO PK Srivastava. Photo: Surya Sridhar

Hyderabad: City-based silicon rubber insulator manufacturer Goldstone Infratech is in talks with Chinese automobiles and rechargeable batteries maker, BYD Company to make electric buses in India to meet the growing demand in the domestic market.

The partners would be exploring several locations for the unit, including Telangana. India is a growing market for electric buses with annual demand to touch 20,000 vehicles from 2020 onwards.

Goldstone Infratech Electric Bus- CEO P K Srivastava told Telangana Today, “Almost 20,000 buses are used in 140 countries worldwide. BYD has mastered in the battery management system in electric buses. Such buses are in high demand in India. The country is seeing demand in 9 and 12 metre buses, which cost about Rs 1.8 crore and Rs 2.8 crore per bus, respectively.”

The unit that will be set up by the partners in India could also be supplying the buses to South East Asian markets.

Goldstone has signed an agreement with BYD in December 2015 to manufacture and supply electric buses in five southern States and Himachal Pradesh. For the first time in India, Brihan Mumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) came out with a tender to supply six buses.

Goldstone and BYD jointly are in the process of supplying the buses, having bagging the order in November last year for a deal value of Rs 10 crore. Of the six buses, the first bus is expected to be delivered in March this year.

Since BYD is seeing a healthy market opportunity in India, the idea is to have a local player as a partner, manufacturing the bus parts and building the whole bus. As the electric buses market keeps growing in India, and till the time the joint venture unit is in place, BYD will supply chassis to Goldstone, and the remaining parts and the bus body building will happen with the help of a contract manufacturer in Bengaluru, KMS. The BEST order is catered through this arrangement. By 2020, BYD and Goldstone aim to make full buses in India.

Several States in India are keen to go for electric buses. Himachal Pradesh is planning to procure 25 electric buses and Goldstone has emerged as the lowest bidder (L1). This is the first time any electric bus has been used at that altitude of over 13,000 ft covering a round trip distance of 110 kms and that too at such steep gradient anywhere in the world.

Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) wants to procure 150 electric buses and has sent a proposal to the Central government. Pune Municipal Corporation is looking for 100 electric buses and an expression of interest (EOI) in this direction has already been floated.

Indore Municipal Corporation plans to procure 50 buses while Chandigarh Transport Undertaking intends to get 10 buses.

The State transport bodies are seeking Centre’s support as Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME) scheme entitles certain benefits. The Department of Heavy Industries gives subsidies for procurements of electric vehicles.

Goldstone has concluded trials in New Delhi, Rajkot and Manali-Rohtang pass. Similar trials will be conducted in Hyderabad next week, the company said.

BYD is also planning to introduce its Mono Rail. Liu Xueliang, Chairman of BYD India & General Manager of BYD Group Asia-Pacific said that they have already partnered with Goldstone to assemble and market electric buses in India.

“BYD understands the need to set up manufacturing facility close to the customers to reduce time for order fulfillment as well as to make any changes as per local needs and to make it more economical. BYD is closely watching the market growth as well as government policies and based upon that BYD will decide to invest further in manufacturing in India,” he said.

Considering that electric vehicles are new to India, BYD has offered to assist in setting up a training school in India to train engineers and technicians of electric vehicle technology, its manufacturing as well as maintenance in partnership with Goldstone.

BYD’s electric vehicles have been sold to 200 cities across 48 countries and regions in 6 continents around the world. Till date, BYD has supplied more than 20,000 electric buses all over the world.

Warren Buffet invested BYD has also attracted investment from Samsung in July last year to a tune of $450 million.


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