Hitachi ABB Power Grids has announced signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Ashok Leyland and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras for a new e-mobility pilot. The three parties will collaborate to run an electric bus (e-bus) pilot designed for sustainable in-campus commute IITM's students and staff. The electric bus, which will be provided by Ashok Leyland, will use Hitachi ABB Power Grids' flash-charging technology - Grid-eMotion Flash. On the other hand, the infrastructure required to operate the flash-charging system for the e-bus will be hosted by IIT Madras.
Commenting on the collaboration and the project, N Saravanan, Chief Technology Officer, Ashok Leyland, said, "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"
On the other hand, 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."
Currently, smart e-mobility is still in its nascent stage, and Hitachi ABB says that the mass public transport segment is largely untouched. The company adds that the switch to electric has previously presented challenges because with battery-operated buses it is difficult to maximize passenger load carrying capacity and running time while making the whole operation economically viable. However, the company claims that 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.
Hitachi ABB's Grid-eMotion Flash is claimed to be the world's fastest flash-charging connection technology. In fact, the system requires a mere 15 seconds to charge the batteries with a 600-kilowatt power boost and any prominent stop, while an additional few minutes of charge time at the final terminal can fully recharge it without interrupting the bus schedule. ABB claims that the system also offers operating cost savings of 30 per cent compared to an equivalent diesel-transit system.