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International Transport Forum: Indian tech company wins innovation award for turning diesel buses into EVs

The winner of the “Promising Innovation in Transport Award” 2016 is KPIT Technologies, an India-based global technology firm, for developing a system that can convert new as well as existing diesel buses into full electric buses. KPIT’s smart electric bus technology is modular and thus highly versatile; making is possible to retrofit different vehicle types from mini buses to large 12-metre public transport buses.

India currently has more than 1.2 million buses in operation, with 50 000 being added every year. Most use diesel engines that contribute significantly to air pollution in Indian cities. Each diesel bus emits 48 tonnes of CO2 per year on average. Replacing 5 000 diesel buses in Indian cities with electric buses would reduce diesel consumption by 95 million litres and save 238 000 tonnes of CO2. These electric buses can also help encourage adoption of public transport, as the ride is smoother and more comfortable as compared to a diesel bus.

The first electric bus retrofitted by KPIT was unveiled by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2015. Two such retrofitted buses are currently operated by the Indian Ministry for Road Transport and Highways.

“Air pollution and traffic congestion are major issues for Indian cities today”, said José Viegas, Secretary-General of the International Transport Forum and chairman of the jury. “This technology could reduce pollution in India and beyond. It also has the potential to lower congestion by making public transport more attractive. Not least, it can cut carbon emissions and contribute to the global effort to limit climate change.”

Kishor Patil, Managing Director and CEO of KPIT said: “It is an honour to receive this recognition from a world renowned institution like the International Transport Forum. It encourages us to continue our efforts to create technologies that are environmentally friendly and cost effective. Our smart electric bus technology will enable green, intelligent and affordable public transportation.”

The Award will be presented on 19 May during the 2016 Summit of the International Transport Forum in Leipzig, Germany, in the presence of ministers from the 57 member countries of the ITF.

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