Ashok Leyland and ABB Power Products and Systems India have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in the public e-mobility space to expand the ecosystem for efficient and greener electric bus transportation systems in India.
The pact outlines a partnership to develop a pilot electric bus based on ABB’s innovative flash-charge technology called TOSA which tops up the battery in just seconds while passengers get on and off the bus.
This avoids the need to take the vehicle out of service for recharging every few hours or having a replacement bus ready, thus minimising the size of the fleet while increasing passenger-carrying capacity.
“We are pushing the boundaries of e-mobility with our flash-charging technology TOSA for buses to contribute to a cleaner, greener and sustainable future,” said N Venu, managing director, ABB Power Products and Systems India, which represents the company’s power grids business.
“The aim is to provide a zero local emission mass public transportation bus system with high passenger capacity. We are pleased to be working with Ashok Leyland in advancing responsible urban mobility,” he said.
The government is promoting the use of electric vehicles (EVs), in some cases planning on mandating it, to reach 30% penetration of EVs by 2030. For operators, the switch to electric is a big undertaking.
Their primary challenge with battery-operated buses is to maximise passenger load carrying capacity and running time to make the whole operation economically viable as well as sustainable for the future.
N Saravanan, chief technology officer at Ashok Leyland, said the company has always been at the forefront of innovation and indigenous technology.
“In this journey, to stay competitive in our domestic and global markets, we are joining hands with ABB to use their world-renowned TOSA technology on our e-buses to take forward our vision of expanding in the EV space,” he said.
At selected passenger stops, TOSA system connects the bus to the charging infrastructure and in a mere 15 seconds, the batteries are charged with a 600-kilowatt power boost. An additional few minutes charge at the final terminal enables a full recharge without interrupting the bus schedule.
TOSA fast-charging can save as much as 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide on a line covering six lakh km per year. It also offers operating cost savings of 30% compared to an equivalent diesel-transit system.
Ashok Leyland, the flagship of Hinduja Group, is the second largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in India, the fourth largest manufacturer of buses in the world and the tenth largest manufacturer of trucks.
It has nine manufacturing plants — seven in India, a bus manufacturing facility at Ras al Khaimah in the UAE and one at Leeds in Britain.