India’s entertainment capital is expanding its fleet of red London-style double-decker buses almost a century after their debut – this time as electric vehicles.
The first of 200 new buses is expected to enter service on Mumbai’s busy roads from December, joining the nearly 400 single-deck electric vehicles already in service.
India – home to 1.4 billion people – is the world’s third largest emitter of carbon, and the government has pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2070.
The drive to electrify public transport is driven in part by the need to reduce pollution in cities with some of the world’s worst air quality.
The electric bus was developed by Switch Mobility, a subsidiary of Indian automaker Ashok Leyland.
Similar electric double-deckers from the company were launched in London in 2014.
“We want ordinary people to embrace e-mobility and reach their goals from net zero,” Switch Mobility India CEO Mahesh Babu told AFP at Thursday’s unveiling of the new fleet.
Built in India, the Switch EiV 22 vehicle has 65 passenger seats and a battery pack that would give it a range of 250 kilometers (155 miles).
Fossil-fuelled red double-deckers made their debut in Mumbai in 1937, and up to 900 of them were running on city routes at the peak of their operations.
The aging fleet has been slowly phased out since the 1990s and now fewer than 50 operate in the city.
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