Giving further fuel to the government’s Make in India initiative, Ashok Leyland yesterday unveiled the first electric bus designed and engineered entirely in India. Named ‘Circuit’, the 100% electric bus is a zero-emission vehicle that adds to the range of eco-friendly modes of transportation in our country.
The event was held at Ashok Leyland’s corporate office in Chennai and the unveiling was done by Chief Guest Mr. Ambuj Sharma (IAS, Additional Chief Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Government of Tamil Nadu), Mr. Vinod K. Dasari (Managing Director, Ashok Leyland), Mr. T Venkataraman (Sr. Vice President – Global Bus), and Mr. Seshu Bhagavathula (Chief Technology Officer at Ashok Leyland).
Photo caption: (L – R) Mr. T Venkataraman, Shri. Ambuj Sharma, Mr. Vinod K. Dasari and Dr. Seshu Bhagavathula
Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Ambuj Sharma said, “India’s first ever fully electric bus, developed for India and made in India, is a big leap in mass public transport and we are glad that Ashok Leyland has been able to deliver this. This vehicle will support the Government initiative of reducing India’s eight lakh crore fuel import bill and is a promise for a brighter and cleaner future for all of us and for our future generations.” He also said that this was a good initiative under the FAME India scheme and the government would further support and encourage such projects.
Suitable for varied Indian terrains, including hilly regions, the new Circuit range of buses will be offered on multiple platforms. The vehicle can be customized as per customer requirements and will initially be a ‘made to order’ bus. The zero emission, non-polluting bus is suited for city rides, tarmac applications, and feeder rides and can also be used by educational institutions, IT companies and heritage sites.
Mr. Dasari said, “In April 2015, at FAME Delhi workshop, we had committed to vehicles with full electric power trains by January ’17. I am happy to dedicate the first vehicle in this new Circuit series, ahead of schedule.”
Elaborating the features of the Circuit series, Mr. T Venkataraman said, “The Circuit series vehicles are all exclusively engineered on India-specific platforms that can tackle varied topography, gradients, and usage conditions. This truly Indian innovation can travel 120 kilometers on a single charge. It is built on a simple, mass-market platform that will enable the operator to cater to customers in city centres with minimal operational and maintenance costs.”
Safety wise, the Circuit series has been integrated with a Fire Detection and Suppression System (FDSS) and has a full vehicle diagnostics system. The standard model seats 31 passengers (2x2), and is powered by lithium batteries.
The vehicle has a turning circle diameter of 15.6 meters and can travel with a maximum speed of 75 km/hr. Charging the vehicle is as easy as charging one’s mobile phone. The first 10 minutes of charge can enable the vehicle to run a distance of 20 km and the vehicle can be fully charged in three hours.
With zero tailpipe emissions and lower noise pollution, the Circuit series boasts of advanced telematics, reduced running costs and regenerative braking. For passenger convenience, the vehicle is equipped with USB mobile chargers and onboard WiFi. Clutch-less driving and ergonomic, comfortable cabin increases driver convenience. Both the interior and exterior have basic yet contemporary design suited for the Indian market.
The commercial vehicle manufacturer is optimistic about the future of the Circuit series of buses and is already in talks with several STUs. The bus has been made locally in India except the batteries, that have been imported from the US.