Article by: CV

Allison’s T270R fully automatic transmission has found a place of pride on the Tata 1621 front-engine bus.

While an automatic transmission in a front-engine bus is not a common sight in India, chances are it will soon be. In fact, the Ahmedabad Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has recently acquired Tata 1621 Front Engine Diesel BS4 city buses with Allison T270R fully automatic transmissions. These buses were purchased by Ahmedabad Janmarg Ltd. (AJL) and launched on BRT roads in December, 2014. Similar buses are running in Surat BRT and Pune city. Still more cities have ordered these buses. Speaking at Delhi, Salil Gupta, Director – India Commercial Operations, Allison Transmission India, expressed that the city bus in the aforementioned cities (with Allison Automatics) are an example of addressing the specific needs of the market. He drew attention to the fact that rear-engine buses have not been able to offset the popularity and legacy that front-engine buses have come to build in India. “Such buses (front-engine with Allison Automatics) will also find their way into many more Indian cities,” he added.

Allison Transmission is the world’s largest provider of commercial duty automatic transmissions and hybrid propulsion systems. Founded in 1915 at Indianapolis, USA, Allison Transmission has manufacturing facilities in the US, Hungary and India. Its first major order in India came from Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) for 650 Tata Marcopolo low-floor city buses fitted with Allison automatic transmissions. In 2010, the company announced the opening of a USD 80 million manufacturing and transmission assembly unit at Oragadam near Chennai. The Chennai plant is an Export Oriented Unit (EOU) catering to orders for Allison 1000 and 2000 series fully automatic transmissions from various countries. The Hungarian plant makes 3000 and 4000 series units, while the US plant manufactures the complete product range including on-highway, hybrid, off-highway and energy segment transmissions. With many commercial vehicle manufacturers in India expressing interest in Automated Manual Transmissions (AMTs), Allison has its work cut out. Especially when one considers that AMTs claim to offer ease of driving and a rise in fuel efficiency. Averred Gupta,

“AMTs are not new; they are simply being looked at anew in our Indian landscape.” While AMTs are used in long haul applications as substitutes for manuals, the more intense (high shift-density) global applications, especially buses, have remained with fully-automatic models. “What has worked greatly in favour of automatic transmissions is that our technology has been specifically developed for tough applications, which allows us to provide the best combination of reliability, performance and fuel efficiency. This is indeed the calling card for Allison in front-engine city bus applications as well, despite the fact that a front-engine bus poses more packaging challenges than a rear-engine bus,” he added. Allison Automatics have gained wide acceptance in city buses around the world, and more so in Asia with most cities specifying automatics for their buses.

Sources close to Allison are of the opinion that buses equipped with their automatic transmissions provide a smoother, quieter ride; prevent the engine from overworking and help maintain constant traffic flow with responsive braking and acceleration. Gupta also drew attention to the fact that Allison Automatics substantially reduce mechanical stress on the driveline, as well as the stresses a driver experiences. “With an AMT, driver stresses may be partially eliminated, but not the mechanical stresses since the basic architecture uses a starting clutch and interrupts engine power to shift, which is the same as a manual,” he mentioned.


Allison global sales of automatics since inception exceed six million transmissions, from all plants. Allison’s new plant in Chennai is said to have rolled out its 10,000th transmission recently, while Allison, listed on the Nasdaq, finds new takers for its auto transmissions in India as well as other parts of the world. Turning out auto transmissions, which are made with the genes and ruggedness of a defense product, according to Gupta, yet another highlight is the long oil drain intervals. The Allison T270R on the Tata 1621 has an oil change interval of 2,40,000km, which is greatly appreciated by bus operators. Customers are operating Allison Transmission fully equipped vehicles in over 80 countries, commanding the largest global market share in commercial duty, fully automatic transmissions. In a market where front-engine buses seem to find favour over rear-engine buses, the successful application of the Allison T270R in the Tata 1621 city bus signals yet another achievement, that will further endorse Allison’s reputation for turning out robust, well-engineered auto transmissions, supported by an equally robust service and repair network.

Averred B R Subhash, General Manager – Customer Support and OEM Product Assurance, “We have invested in nine dealers in India.” Allison has also invested in a customisation centre and a parts distribution centre in India to support customer fleets. To meet the demanding needs of this market, the team in India is fully focused. The Allison Original Equipment Manufacturer Product Assurance (OEMPA) program involves working closely with OEMs to ensure the installation guidelines are met to ensure good integration and driveline build quality, to provide technical assistance as needed and to recommend alterations in design and installation in order to increase customer satisfaction and reduce warranty costs. With all these initiatives and resources deployed in India, Allison is fully committed to provide the most reliable and valued propulsion solutions in the world to enable its customers to work more efficiently.


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