Ashok Leyland Partners With ABB Power Grids to Develop Fast Charging Electric Buses

Ashok Leyland, the flagship of the Hinduja Group, and ABB Power Grids have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand the e-mobility ecosystem in the country by providing environment-friendly electric buses in India.

The partnership will work on the development of a pilot electric bus based on ABB’s flash charge technology ‘TOSA’, which charges the battery in a short time as passengers get on and off the bus. The company says that this new technology cuts the hassle of taking the bus to the charging station every few hours for charging or having a replacement bus ready, cutting down on the size of the fleet and, at the same time increasing passenger-carrying capacity.

Speaking on the partnership, N Venu, managing director, ABB Power Products and Systems, said, “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. 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.”

The Indian government is pushing hard to promote the use of electric vehicles in the country and is planning to reach 30% penetration by 2030. The main challenge for players in the electric bus segment is to maximize passenger load carrying capacity and at the same time, increase the running time, making the whole operation economically viable.


ABB’s technology TOSA lets cities cut down on the pollution levels without affecting passenger capacity or journey times. With the help of this new technology at selected stops, the buses can be charged with a 600 kW power boost within 15 seconds, and a further few minutes of charging at the bus terminal enables a full recharge without hampering the bus schedule.

This innovation has been claimed to save as much as 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide on a line covering 600,000 kilometers per year. Under the MoU, ABB Power Grid will be responsible for the planning, design, and installation of TOSA charging systems in the country, whereas, Ashok Leyland will be responsible for developing buses compatible with the TOSA technology.

In October last year, to facilitate the usage of EVs in the country, the Union Power Minister R.K. Singh approved the amendments in electric vehicle charging guidelines and specifications.

To increase electric mobility in the country, the government reduced the applicable rate of Goods and Services Tax on electric vehicles. The 36th GST Council meeting, chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, decided that the GST rate on all the electric vehicles be reduced from 12% to 5%. The council also decided that the hiring of electric buses (carrying capacity more than 12 passengers) by local authorities will be exempted from GST.

Previously, Optare, a subsidiary of Ashok Leyland, which is a part of the Hinduja Group, won an order for 31 double-decker EV buses for London.

 

Image credit: Ramesh NG from Bangalore, INDIA [CC BY-SA]