A video went viral on social media today showing an electric bus belonging to Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited is seen being charged by a diesel generator. Electric vehicles are being used to reduced pollution from induction combustion engine vehicles, therefore, this was a big irony that such an eco-friendly bus was charged by a polluting diesel generator.
Using a diesel generator to charge e-bus?
Why on earth someone would do that?
— Himanshu Paliwal (@him_paliwal) October 9, 2019
— Yogini (@yoginisd) October 12, 2019
The viral video soon made it to mainstream media, which claimed that PMPML is charging its e-buses using diesel generators. News18 gave a benefit of doubt to PMPML, saying it may be done by the driver on his personal capacity. A report by Pune Mirror of the Times group claimed that Pune does not have required infrastructure to charge the electric buses, hence alternatives like generators are used. They also quoted drivers saying that diesel generators used to charge the buses consume more diesel than diesel buses.
But soon several social media users pointed out that the video seems to be old, and it is before the bus was inducted into service, as there is no registration number plate on the electric bus seen in the video. The location also seemed to be not from inside the city, where the buses run. Several users from Pune also noted that PMPML has dedicated facilities to charge the electric buses using power from the grid, and generators are not used.
In response to the viral video of a PMPML e-Bus being recharged using a Diesel Generator.
E-Buses are manufactured by the company in Hyderabad, as per contract the buses are to be delivered post inspection in Pune. (1/3)
— Siddharth Shirole (@SidShirole) October 13, 2019
In response to the video, BJP leader from Pune Siddharth Shirole has clarified why the bus was charged using a generator. He informed that the e-buses procured by Pune are manufactured in Hyderabad, and they were driven to Pune. The typical range of the buses is 250 km, which is not enough to cover the distance between Hyderabad and Pune. As there are no charging stations on the highway, the buses were charged at Solapur using diesel generators. Shirole clarified that every bus inducted into service in Pune is charged using grid power only, and generators are used only for the transit on the highways.
PMPML has several issues to sort out. But this video isn’t one of them. The bus was not even inducted in the fleet. It was in transit from Hyderabad to Pune. Given we don’t have buses w 500 km+ range yet, it had to be charged en route. Not every place has a charging station yet.
— Aashish Chandorkar (@c_aashish) October 13, 2019
The same was also said by other prominent persons from Pune, who confirmed that the buses were charged using gensets during the transit from Hyderabad to Pune, and gensets are not used for in-service e-buses in the city. Solapur is located almost halfway between Hyderabad and Pune, and it is logical that the buses need to be charged there to complete the journey on battery power. In the absence of a charging station in Solapur, diesel generators are used by the manufacturer to charge the buses to deliver them to Pune. This is just a single use of gensets during transit, and diesel generators are not used during their regular service in Pune.
PMPML charges its electric buses at its two depots, located at Bhekrai Nagar and Nigdi, where high capacity charges charge multiple buses at a time using power from the grid. Five more charging points are being installed at Baner, Ravet, Moshi and Katraj depots, as there are plans to induct more electric buses for the city.