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Frugal engineering

John Day

John Day

Posted Jun 11, 2010

A friend forwarded a Business Week article that suggested China is nearing the Lewis turning point, where “surplus labor evaporates and pushes up wages, consumption and inflation.” It said manufacturers might look for cheaper countries, like India.

This brought KPIT Cummins to mind, since the Pune-based firm recently launched something called REVOLO, and said it was “conceptualized, developed and frugally engineered in India.” KPIT Cummins’ joint venture partner, Bharat Forge, will manufacture the product, described as an intelligent, plug-in parallel hybrid solution.

The firms say the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) has pronounced REVOLO capable of fuel efficiency gains above 40% – more than 60% under city driving conditions – and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of over 30% (32% for CO2 and 52% for NOX).

REVOLO consists of an electric motor, electric motor controller, battery pack, mechanical assembly and coupling, proprietary software for controlling the motor and batteries, and an intelligent battery management system. It works with batteries of any kind, and can be installed on existing vehicles as well as new ones.

The REVOLO motor and the vehicle engine work simultaneously, with load sharing between them said to be seamless. Batteries are recharged through “opportunity-based regeneration” and regenerative braking, or from a domestic power outlet or other standard external electricity source.

Other features include Stop-Start, and intelligence that recognizes and adjusts for individual driving patterns. There’s no interference with a vehicle’s existing engine management system.

“This new plug-in, parallel, hybrid solution represents the new standard of value that frugal engineering can deliver to both auto manufacturers and vehicle owners around the world,” says KPIT Cummins chairman and group CEO Ravi Pandit. He adds that service stations in India will be able to convert conventional vehicles into eco-friendly hybrids. “Finally, it will give vehicle owners the option of upgrading their vehicles to a higher level of fuel efficiency and performance, without the expense of having to buy a new one.”

Bharat Forge, Business Week, Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), REVOLO, KPIT Cummins, Ravi Pandit

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News ( to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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