Hitachi ABB Power Grids, Ashok Leyland and IIT-Madras to begin e-bus pilot using flash-charging tech

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 27 Nov 2020


Hitachi ABB Power Grids in India (ABB Power Products and Systems India) has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ashok Leyland and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-Madras) for an e-mobility pilot.

As per the understanding, the triumvirate will run an electric bus (e-bus) pilot to support sustainable in-campus commuting by IIT-Maras students and staff. The e-bus will incorporate Hitachi ABB Power Grids’ innovative flash-charging technology – Grid-eMotion Flash, provided by leading bus manufacturer, Ashok Leyland. The IIT-Madras institute will host the infrastructure required to operate the flash-charging system for the e-bus.

N Venu, MD, Hitachi ABB Power Grids in India said: “We need to have all hands on deck – industry, academia and policymakers to develop a strong and reliable local ecosystem to support the Indian electric vehicle (EV) revolution. With sound policy levers in place, this partnership – engaging some of the finest industry and academic minds in India – creates a truly sustainable framework for e-mobility. We are delighted to be partnering with Ashok Leyland and IITM to provide a zero-emissions mass public transportation bus system through our award-winning technology, localised for the Indian market.”

Dr. N Saravanan, CTO, Ashok Leyland said: “As pioneers in the bus segment, we are proud to partner on yet another innovative solution in the e-bus segment. Combination of our robust buses with electric propulsion technology and flash charging from Hitachi ABB Power Grids, can be the answer to the need for sustainable public transportation across the country. This latest alliance will further help us stay at the forefront of embedding innovative and indigenous technologies to nurture the smart e-mobility ecosystem in India.”

Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director, IIT Madras said: “The development of India's e-mobility charging infrastructure and increased deployment of e-buses is key to meeting the demand for sustainable transport solutions across India's rural and urban areas. We hope to study and understand how the right technology can enable an efficient transport system without damaging the environment. We are delighted to have partnered with the best in the industry for this endeavour.”

The partners say smart e-mobility is at a nascent stage in India, and while India’s government is striving to scale up EV adoption to 30 percent by 2030, the mass public transport segment is largely untouched. For bus operators, the switch to electric has previously presented challenges. That is because with battery-operated buses it is difficult to maximise passenger load carrying capacity and running time while making the whole operation economically viable. An e-bus with flash-charging technology can solve that problem while improving the quality of life through reducing pollution in densely populated urban areas.