NEW DELHI: JBM Solaris – a joint-venture between Indian auto component maker JBM Auto and Polish Solaris Bus & Coach – will invest Rs 300 crore over the next 2-3 years to engineer, design and develop full electric and hybrid buses in India.”We are working on two platforms and will spin off 3-4 variants from each. The first of these products ECOLIFE will hit the market by March-April 2017,” said Nishant Arya, executive director, JBM Auto, which inked the agreement with Solaris earlier this month. JBM holds majority stake in the joint-ventureSolaris will bring its domain expertise in developing electric buses, while JBM Auto will provide its in-house engineering & design expertise, market know-how along with the manufacturing facilities and infrastructure. Production of ECOLIFE will start by the fourth quarter of the current financial year at Kosi, Uttar Pradesh. JBM Solaris will subsequently work towards indegensing and also bringing in the complete range of buses in further phases.The key focus will be towards locally developing indigenous sources for all key aggregates, systems and components catering to domestic and global requirements,” said Arya.ECOLIFE, a full electric bus, was unveiled at 13th Auto Expo in February 2016. ECOLIFE is a zero emission vehicle (ZEV) powered by lithium batteries, which are fast charging and runs up to 200 kms daily for city bus operation. This vehicle can also run on plug-in charging mode. Arya said the full electric bus from the joint-venture will be tagged at about Rs 3 crore but running costs would be a fifth of buses running on conventional fuel options.
“The payback period for this bus is 4-5 years compared to 5-7 years for a conventional bus.”