Hitachi ABB Power Grids and Ashok Leyland Partner for an E-Bus Pilot at IIT Madras

Hitachi ABB Power Grids has signed a memorandum of understanding  (MoU) with Ashok Leyland and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) for an e-mobility pilot project.

Under the tripartite agreement, the trio will run an electric bus (e-bus) pilot to support sustainable in-campus commuting by IITM‘s students and staff. The e-bus will be provided by Ashok Leyland, incorporating Hitachi ABB Power Grids‘ flash-charging technology – Grid-eMotionTM Flash.

IITM will host the infrastructure required to operate the flash-charging system for the e-bus. Recently, the IITM had also developed an autonomous solar vehicle to survey water-bodies and provide real-time data.

According to the press statement, smart e-mobility is at a nascent stage in India. The switch to electric vehicles had previously presented challenges for bus operators because it is difficult for battery-operated buses to maximize 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 air by reducing pollution in densely populated urban areas.


In January this year, Ashok Leyland partnered with ABB Power Grids to develop fast charging for electric buses.

“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. 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, localized for the Indian market,” said N Venu, managing director, Hitachi ABB Power Grids in India.

“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,” said Dr. N Saravanan, chief technology officer, Ashok Leyland.

“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 endeavor,” said Professor Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras.

Last year, the Ministry of Science & Technology set up a solar energy harnessing center at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

Several IITs across the country are taking exemplary steps to promote sustainability on their campuses. Previously, to encourage smart mobility, the Indian Institute of Technology Patna floated an expression of interest for providing electric cycles on a use and pay basis for the staff and students at the university campus.

Ashok Leyland also announced that Optare  Group, its majority-owned UK subsidiary is renamed Switch Mobility as part of its drive towards electrification and new mobility services. Switch (Optare) is a leading player in electric buses with more than 150 of them currently operating in its home market. It has delivered 30 Electric Double Decker buses to Metroline in London. The company is currently fulfilling orders for operators including Tower Transit, London, and First York.