Ashok Leyland to develop electric bus based on ABB’s TOSA flash-charge technology

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The Indian 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 ask. 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. 

To solve this problem, Ashok Leyland, India’s largest bus manufacturer, and the fourth largest manufacturer of buses in the world and ABB Power Products and Systems India Limited, the standalone legal entity of ABB’s Power Grids business in India, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the public e-mobility space, to expand the eco-system for efficient and greener electric bus transportation systems in India.

The MoU outlines a partnership to develop a pilot electric bus based on ABB’s flash-charge technology, 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 minimizing the size of the fleet while increasing passenger carrying capacity. 

TOSA is the world’s fastest flash-charging connection technology that lets cities reduce the environmental pollution of their transit systems without affecting passenger capacity or journey times. At selected passenger stops, its 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 tons of carbon dioxide on a line covering 600,000 kilometers per year. It also offers operating cost savings of 30 percent compared to an equivalent diesel-transit system.

ABB Power Grids’ business in India is responsible for planning, design, engineering installation and commissioning of the TOSA charging system under the MoU. Ashok Leyland will have the scope of manufacturing and supplying electrics buses compatible with TOSA technology. 

Dr. N Saravanan, CTO, Ashok Leyland, said: “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. This solution of the flash charge technology (TOSA) which enables charging the battery in seconds, is another example of us delivering on our brand promise of ‘Aapki Jeet. Hamari Jeet.” 

N. Venu, managing director, ABB Power Products and Systems India Limited, 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.”

ABB is also providing its ABB Ability Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software solution for asset optimization, as well as its ABB Ability Network Manager Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system to monitor and control the power network for charging stations and e-buses. On its part, AL will be providing vehicle, energy and EV related technical information using its iAlert Platform. This will further optimize maintenance processes, enable a fast response to fault incidents and better predict maintenance and performance needs. The overall solutions are equipped with remote access and 'cloud' capabilities and is scalable to meet future needs.

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