New Delhi: The Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI) launched a unique capacity building training programme on electric bus fire safety, with support from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and Convergence Electric Services Ltd (CESL). This first-of-its kind training in India, titled “Mastering Electric Bus Fire Safety” was launched on 27th March in Delhi, in association with the Automotive Skills Development Council (ASDC).
This training programme is designed to equip public transport agency workforce and other relevant stakeholders with the necessary skills to manage fire hazards associated with Electric Buses. Set to be conducted over three phases, each phase of the training caters to a different target group, with modules covering a range of topics such as electric bus high voltage and fire safety, emergency preparedness, safety in electric bus maintenance and operations, electrification of public transport, charging infrastructure safety, and standard operating procedures for maintenance activities. The programme is designed to cater to the specific sensitisation or upskilling requirements of different hierarchies, and each part covers six hours of training.
Speaking at the inaugural launch of the training, DrHanif Qureshi (IPS), Joint Secretary of MHI reiterated India’s commitment at CoP26 to switch to electric vehicles and decarbonise the transport sector to achieve net zero by 2070. Second phase of FAME India Scheme was launched by MHI in April 2019 with a mandate of 10,000 crore rupees over five years, out of which 3,500 crores are allocated for buses, which are crucial for electrifying India’s public bus transport system. The target was to support 7,090 buses through the scheme, and as of today, 7,210 buses are plying on-ground. The scheme was amended in 2022 and shall be supporting to further support future electrification.
In addition, he added: “MHI is receiving demand from many states for electric buses, and we are exploring ways to expand our support. However, there are challenges, including the high initial cost and safety issues. The cost of electric bus batteries is around 40-45%, and safety norms and technology are still being developed. MHI is revising the guidelines based on the requests from several OEMs.”
Ernst Doering, Cluster Coordinator, Sustainable Urban and Industrial Development Cluster, GIZ said: “The Electric Mobility project, jointly implemented by GIZ and the Ministry of Heavy Industries, aims to promote the transition to climate-friendly electric mobility in India. This project involves working with national, state, and local stakeholders to foster cooperation and enhance implementing structures and strategic skills. The Government of India is taking various measures to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, with a specific focus on the transport sector.”
Arindam Lahiri, CEO of ASDC, said, “This training programme is an essential step towards addressing the fire safety concerns in Electric Buses, which are becoming increasingly popular as a sustainable public transport option. The programme shall help the stakeholders to develop necessary skills to manage fire hazards and ensure safe operations.”
India needs more sustainable public transport options to meet its growing demands, as well as its climate goals. Electric buses are the future of climate-friendly public transport, and it is essential to equip stakeholders with the necessary skills to manage them effectively. Through this initiative, the Ministry of Heavy Industries and GIZ India are taking an active role in promoting climate change and sustainable public transport by ensuring the safety of Electric Buses.It is a step towards a greener and cleaner future for India.