HIGH-TECH: Lithium Ion Battery Capability Developing in India Prime minister Narendra Modi flags off the smart electric bus, at Parliaments House, in New Delhi on December 21. Photo: PIB Lithium ion battery capability is finally being developed in India to bring costs down and make such batteries cost effective for mass production of electric vehicles (EVs). This was revealed today by Nitin Gadkari, Union minister for Road Transport and Highways at the inauguration of the first Electric Vehicle Expo 2015 at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. Gadkari recounted how, on a visit to London, he had travelled in an Ashok Leyland-owned Optare electric bus around the city and on enquiring was told that the lithium ion battery powering the bus cost Rs 55 lakh. On returning to India, he asked ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), which is developing lithium ion batteries for rockets and satellites, to develop one for four-wheelers, e-rickshaws and buses. Six months later, the lithium ion battery was patented after being tested by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI). The development cost is estimated at Rs 5-6 lakh. Three electric buses have been fitted with these batteries. The first of the batteries was fitted in the electric bus flagged off by the Prime Minister at the Parliament for transporting members on December 21 (pictured l above). Two more electric buses have been developed, one for the Supreme Court and the other for the Road Transport and Highways department. The minister said he has requested the prime minister to allow these lithium ion batteries to be manufactured by the small scale sector in the country. Gadkari also spoke about briefing vehicle manufacturers about developing flex fuel technology cars, similar to those being used invBrazil, to reduce pollution and to enable a more cost-effective transportation system in the country. He has also asked Chinese companies participating in the EV Expo 2015 (December 25-27 in Delhi) to ink joint ventures with Indian firms to develop e-rickshaws and e-carts as well as other EVs while adhering to standards and quality. Smart Electric Bus uses KPIT Tech The smart electric bus, which was flagged off by prime minister Narendra Modi on December 21, employs indigenous technology developed by the India-headquartered global technology company, KPIT. Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT) has partnered for this project to validate and ensure that the electric bus technology is safe, reliable, and well suited for Indian road conditions. KPIT says the smart electric bus enables clean mobility and is aligned with the Indian government’s initiatives of Make in India, Smart Cities and Swachh Bharat. This full electric system for buses can be deployed to create new intelligent electric buses, as well as convert existing conventional fuel buses. It is a versatile system and a variety of existing bus types can be converted to electric buses. KPIT has over 20 global patents for this technology.