Delhi could get a new crop of electric road sweepers to help clean up the city while also reducing pollution, if a new proposal in front of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) is approved. Kaviyat India has imported Swiss electric road sweeping machines and has presented a proposal for their deployment to the NDMC, which the company says will bring down the pollution in the city. Animesh Sinha, Managing Director for Kavyiat India explained how the electric road sweepers could help reduce the air pollution in the capital.
As per a 2019 report by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), each road sweeper covers 20 to 42 kilometres per day using 80 to 100 litres of diesel, purely for sweeping the road, at the rate of around 12 litres of diesel per hour. Kavyiat’s Sinha says this means that a single mechanical road sweeper contributes 120-150 tonnes of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere every year. This is a concern when you see that even in the summer, when Delhi’s air is relatively much better than other times of the year, it still has an AQI reading of over 150 — three times higher than the maximum acceptable level of 50.
In 2017, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had directed the Delhi government to look for alternatives powered by CNG or electricity in its report, TERI recommended that the machines be run on double shifts, on a clean fuel like CNG or electricity, in order to reduce air pollution, noting that only NDMC was running its machines on double shifts in Delhi.
Sinha made his proposal to the NDMC to import India’s first electric road sweepers from Boschung in March this year. He is yet to get an official approval from the Council, a delay caused due to the pandemic although Sinha says the general response had been ‘extremely positive.’
Boshcung’s machines are already in use in Switzerland, Germany, UK, and Spain. Kavyiat will be the original equipment manufacturer for Boschung S2.0 Electric Road Sweepers in India.
Boschung S2.0 comes with a 54.4kW/h battery that can operate upto 10 hours with a single charge. India’s temperature was a concern while considering the import of the Swiss machinery. “The battery had to be ideal for Delhi summers, where the temperature can even go above 50 degrees Celsius and the temperature of the battery inside the machine could go up to 60 degrees Celsius in such cases. The model that is being imported to India is designed to withstand temperatures as high as 55 degrees Celsius. Nickel Cobalt Aluminium (NCA) variety of lithium iron is used in the batteries, the same ones that Tesla uses in its batteries,” Sinha said.
“As far as battery disposal is concerned we have the Switzerland government’s regulation for recycling the waste materials that will be used in the batteries. The same regulations would be employed in India as well. Government of India is yet to mention any guidelines regarding the battery disposals of the electric road sweepers. But that will be a cause of concern only after about 8-12 years as we promise 8000 charging cycles,” Sinha said.
Cost and deployment in India
The Boschung S2.0 Electric Road Sweeper is currently listed on the Government eMarketplace website for a price of Rs.3.6 crores. “We are very expensive as compared to the competitors,” said Sinha. “But at the same time the electric road sweeper will be able to clean at least 50 kilometres in a single shift. Thus in seven to eight years’ time, considering the fuel costs being saved and the reduction in air pollution, Boschung’s road sweeper will prove to be a much more economical option.”
He added that the cost of operation of Boschung S2.0 on road is expected to be minimal, owing to clean energy and lesser man power required in operating the machinery.
The first stage of deployment is planned in Bengaluru, New Delhi, Indore, Bhopal, Lucknow, Noida, and Greater Noida. “These are the areas that we are looking at and the authorities at all these places had a positive initial response to the idea but a face-to-face meeting is pending due to current situations,” Sinha said.
Kayviat India plans to deploy the electric road sweeper in airports, railways, hospitals and other major institutions in India eventually. There are also plans to launch the manufacturing and production of Boschung’s battery and machinery in India. “Once our machines start selling in India, we hope to set up charging stations supported by solar panels. But that is the next stage of the plan.”