At the ongoing Auto Expo 2018, Ashok Leyland has unveiled the company's first electric bus, Circuit S, which comes powered with Sun Mobility's Swappable Smart Battery. According to the company, this is India's answer to rising e-mobility needs and global demand for smarter solutions for public transport. While the partnership between Ashok Leyland and Sun Mobility was announced in July last year, it was only formally confirmed at the Auto Expo 2018. With the new Circuit S electric bus, both the companies aim at creating Smart Mobility solutions for Smart cities.
The new Circuit S electric bus has a seating capacity of around 25-30 persons and is built for the Indian road conditions. The Circuit S runs on small electric batteries, which is easily swappable and can be charged under 4 minutes with the help of Sun Mobility's Swappable Smart Battery container. This is faster than the conventional refueling stations that take around the same time to fill up the car. In its first demonstration, the company addressed issues of convenience and quick recharging options that have long been stumbling blocks for the acceptance and viability of electric vehicles for public transportation.
"The Circuit-S bus will cost lesser, would require minimal maintenance owing to lesser moving parts, will be lighter owing to smaller battery pack and most importantly, it will have zero tailpipe emissions. We certainly see this technology solution as the biggest enabler for our STUs and the biggest contributor to our nation's mobility vision of becoming 100% electric," said Vinod Dasari, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland.
Chetan Maini, Co-Founder and Vice Chairman, SUN Mobility said, "Partnering with a market leader like Ashok Leyland, we have been able to bring to life, mass mobility solutions that are customized for India's widespread public transportation needs."
By separating the battery from the bus, the upfront cost of the bus is drastically reduced to be at par with a traditional diesel bus. The bus is designed for Indian mass transport usage and allows for more passenger space and standing room. The swappable technology is compatible across a variety of bus platforms and works on the pay-per-use model of battery consumption. This brings down the total cost of vehicle operations; both maintenance and energy.
SUN Mobility plans to build a network of Quick Interchange Stations that are easy to install and ensures quick refueling of busses to reduce down-time. These stations are compact and modular, allowing flexibility of shifting basis demand in a cost-effective manner.