Ashok Leyland And IIT Madras Researchers To Develop Hybrid Electrical Vehicles Using Turbine Technology

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A file photo of Ashok Leyland and IIT Madras researchers join forces to develop hybrid Electrical Vehicles using turbine technology
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Ashok Leyland, the flagship company of the Hinduja group and India’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturer, and Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) Researchers at the National Centre for Combustion Research and Development (NCCRD) collaborated for the development and commercialization of ‘Swirl Mesh Lean Direct Injection (LDI) system’ technology for developing a series of hybrid Electrical Vehicles using this turbine technology. 

IIT Madras Researchers at NCCRD are developing an indigenously-designed Micro Gas Turbine. The core of the Micro Turbine is a patented combustion technology called ‘Swirl Mesh Lean Direct Injection (LDI) system.’ 

The main power train will be the electric motors but the onboard power would be generated by the Micro Gas Turbine, developed jointly by NCCRD and Aerostrovilos Energy, an IITM-incubated start-up. This Micro Gas Turbine will replace the large battery.

After the technology was demonstrated on a lab scale, Ashok Leyland signed a letter of support to develop this technology for the heavy vehicles segment with NCCRD, IIT Madras. As part of the collaboration, Ashok Leyland handed over to NCCRD a 9-meter passenger electric bus.

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Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, received the bus on behalf of NCCRD, IIT Madras, from Dr N. Saravanan, Chief Technology Officer, Ashok Leyland, and Mr Kanakasabapathi Subramanian, Senior Vice President, Product Development, Ashok Leyland.  This bus would be converted as part of the series of vehicles having a hybrid powertrain with the micro gas turbine developed by NCCRD and Aerostrovilos.

Speaking about this collaboration, Dr N. Saravanan, CTO, Ashok Leyland, said, “Micro Gas Turbines hold significant promise as a technology that will extend fuel combustion beyond traditional IC Engines and provide for more efficient performance and multi-fuel capability. Ashok Leyland is proud to be associated with IIT Madras and Aerostrovilos in this development effort.”

Highlighting the key outcomes from this collaboration, Prof. Sathya Chakravarthy, Coordinator, NCCRD, IIT Madras, said, “This marks our conviction of not only working with the industry on innovative technological solutions of societal impact but also pushing the inhouse developments on innovation to see the light of day with the industry.”

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This collaboration will enable the development and demonstration of a series of vehicles with a hybrid concept equipped with this Micro Gas Turbine call the ‘Turbine electric vehicle’ (TEV). The aim of this project is to establish a power train that has ultra-low emissions, low cost of ownership, fuel flexibility and a reliable system for long-range heavy vehicles.

The Key Advantages of this series hybrid configuration with this new microturbine technology include 

  • An overall lighter power train (high weight-to-power ratio), 
  • Ultra-low emissions, 
  • Multiple fuel capabilities (eg. Biogas, CNG, LNG, Diesel, Hydrogen etc. ), and 
  • An overall low cost of ownership

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