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Rhino 5536 – India’s first electric truck’s journey so far

Gurgaon based IPLT (InfraPrime Logistics Technologies) made headlines in August 2019 when they came out with India’s First All-Electric Truck – Rhino 5536. The company beat the clock of typical product development by designing and developing the truck in-house in just eight months.

Also Read: IPLT to roll out 1,000 electric trucks

IPLT is a logistics solutions firm that provides services (including real-time analytics and route optimisation) to companies in the infrastructure and construction sector. We caught up with COO Chetan Singhal to find out about the progress they have made with the truck and the response the company has been getting from the market since the unveiling last year.

The number 5536 in the name of the product is indicative of Gross Vehicle Weight (55 tonnes) and power (360 bhp) of the vehicle. The main application area for the truck is going to be construction material logistics.

Here are some of the distinguishing characteristics of the truck designed for mid-haul logistics.

– At 55 tonnes, Rhino 5536 is the world’s heaviest pure electric truck.

– Comes with an indigenously designed transmission-based electric drivetrain

– Automatic transmission

Range – 250 km, top speed – 90 km/h

265 kWh Lithium-ion phosphate battery pack that weighs more than 2 metric tonnes. 

To ensure temperature control in high ambient temperature in India, the battery pack comes equipped with an in-built air-conditioned secondary cooling system to maintain temperature around each cell at below 35 degree Celsius even when the ambient temperature soars above 50 degree Celsius.

– 160 kWh fast charger that can charge the truck’s battery pack from 0 to 100% in 90 minutes.

– Proprietary Vehicle Control Software for improved mileage

– Can handle up to 23 degree gradient

IPLT claims that replacing a diesel truck with a zero-emission electric truck will help save about 50,000 litres of diesel annually and can help cut operating costs by about 80% paying for itself in less than 2 years.

The company has been running Rhino 5536 to supply construction material to its clients in Delhi-NCR. Speaking about their experience and learnings so far, Chetan said, “Running the trucks for the last six months has validated our assumptions about the range, charging time and gradient. We have also tested the truck extensively in all kinds of driving conditions, that has helped us fine-tune the vehicle software.

Currently, IPLT has developed the capacity to manufacture 1000 trucks per annum and expects to be operational at full capacity by September 2020. They have already rolled out 10 trucks from their manufacturing unit in Faridabad and received orders for about 100 trucks. Talking about the market response, Chetan shares, “The response has been exciting. Many fleet owners have shown keen interest in replacing 20% of their fleet with electric immediately”.

The company plans to run the trucks for fixed routes applications and will develop charging stations along these routes going forward.

Electric trucks are yet to find their footing in India and we are just getting started with Rhino 5536. TATA Motors unveiled Ultra T.7 during AutoExpo 2020. It will be interesting to see these two vehicles leading India’s position in electric trucking and creating performance benchmarks.

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