Ashok Leyland and IIT Madras to work on ‘Centre of Battery Engineering’

Ashok Leyland and Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), on 19 th August 2017, for Ashok Leyland to sponsor the Centre of Battery Engineering (CoBE) at IIT Madras. The CoBE will seek to supplement the on-going research by facilitating collaboration between industry and researchers, which is currently lacking, to study various battery characteristics that are not completely understood even among Global players.IIT Madras is the first institution to set up such an initiative to develop the Electric Mobility ecosystem in India with industry participation. The objective of this MOU is to promote R&D activities for strengthening battery engineering and related sub-parts, especially for Electric Vehicles. Ashok Leyland will provide a funding of INR 1.5 Cr over a 5-year period to Centre of Battery Engineering at IIT-Madras.

IIT Madras has a great track record of working with industry leaders and innovators. The institution has come up with solutions which are business worthy and helps take the technological capability of the industry a step further. For Ashok Leyland, being a part of the CoBE is a very significant step in its journey and it has the potential to help the company understand battery technology as it proliferates the market with its Electric Vehicles with different architectures for different applications. In addition to joining the panel of sponsors of CoBE, Ashok Leyland is also keen on carrying out a fair amount of confidential consulting research projects with CoBE over the next few years. This will not only help the company evolve as a competitive player and India-optimised solutions provider for its customers but also help realising its ambition to stay ahead of global practices in this domain as the fourth largest Bus Maker in the world.

This landmark tie-up will aim to achieve the following objectives:
1. CoBE will work towards understanding various battery issues and challenges in various areas of applications. It will also undertake high quality research projects to overcome these challenges.
2. It will focus on the physics part of the battery technology as against other research units working on newer chemistries of the batteries. CoBE will target to work upon Battery Engineering and thorough characterisation of batteries via detailed testing, optimising battery performance for different applications and work towards better economics.
3. CoBE will collaborate with various cell manufacturers from across the world, procure cells and characterise them to create a knowledge centre on available cells, providing industry with valuable data to select appropriate solutions.
4. It will study the impact of partial charge-discharge cycles with varying depths of discharge and operating temperatures on battery life.
5. It will work on developing the next generation of smart battery chargers and Battery Management protocols. By working on the design configurations, and packaging cells into modules differently, optimisation studies on batteries for different lifetime for different applications will be undertaken Additionally, CoBE will play a larger role of coordinating synergy among various industry partners to develop a holistic cooperation model across entire value chain of EV Batteries. It will also be doing consulting for Ashok Leyland as well as others in niche and IPR-intensive areas where there is a need for in-depth testing and development, including simulations. Through this partnership, Ashok Leyland aims to support the EV ecosystem at a national level to bring the industry up to speed considering the limited skills in the country as on date.

Commenting on this landmark initiative, Mr. Karthick Athmanathan, Head, Electric Vehicles and e-Mobility Solutions, at Ashok Leyland, said, “We are confident that, with the high quality of people and the special list of research initiatives, CoBE at IITM will be a key partner in the country’s electric mobility vision and will help us understand this technology better and stay ahead of global players. We are committed to the Government’s vision for eMobility and want to develop the ecosystem which will help us come up with customised EV solutions for our country.”

Sharing his views about the MoU, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, said, “Battery Engineering, specifically for electric vehicles, is a very important emerging area of research and innovation. By pledging long-term support and collaborating with the CoBE at IIT Madras, Ashok Leyland is making a significant contribution to this critical technology for India’s future energy and transportation needs.”

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