Switch Mobility, the electric vehicle division of Hinduja Group’s flagship company Ashok Leyland, has unveiled two new light commercial vehicles (LCV) here on Thursday.
The electric LCVs were unveiled by Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari at the 75th-anniversary celebrations of Ashok Leyland here in the presence of company Chairman Dheeraj Hinduja, Managing Director Shenu Agarwal and Switch Mobility CEO S Mahesh Babu. The series of vehicles, named IeV, are the country’s first electric commercial vehicles produced by Switch Mobility and aims to provide efficient and eco-friendly solutions for last-mile transportation needs, a company statement said.
IeV 3 and IeV 4 vehicles have been developed at a project cost of about Rs 100 crore and the manufacturing would take place at the production unit of Ashok Leyland in Hosur, said Switch Mobility said Mahesh Babu. “We are coming with the IeV series, we unveiled the product (prototype) in January and then we have been working with the customers to configure the product and define the product with them. Now we are happy to say that on the 75th Anniversary of Ashok Leyland, we are launching the IeV series,” he told PTI in an interaction. Dubbed as ‘twin brothers’, the IeV 3 and IeV 4 vehicles are enabled with a 330 V high voltage EV architecture in the 2-3.5 tonne commercial vehicle category, he said.
The vehicles come equipped with a spacious cargo body extending up to 9.7 feet and is capable of holding a container of 340 cubic feet. “This is the first product coming up in the category 330-volt architecture which is efficient, high voltage, and can be charged in less than one hour up to 80 per cent,” Babu said. The vehicles are fitted with car-like features to ensure that drivers experience less fatigue, thereby improving their lifestyle. Babu said the company would be setting up 70 outlets to roll out the vehicles using Ashok Leyland dealerships across the country. “We are planning to have about 70 outlets across the nation to deliver service and maintain the vehicles. In the existing dealership network, there will be a specific area for Switch Mobility. We are also tying up with financial partners who will finance these vehicles,” he noted.
Babu said the company has secured 13,000 orders from several e-commerce players including Amazon and Flipkart for the new IeV range of vehicles. “Today we are unveiling the products. A pilot run will be done in October-December. The customer delivery will begin from January 2024,” he said. He said the prices of the two vehicles would be announced during their market launch. “Manufacturing (of the two IeV range of vehicles) will happen in our Ashok Leyland manufacturing facility in Hosur. We want to leverage the existing plant (of Ashok Leyland). We have a small area within the factory (in Hosur) where we will do the electrification, and general assembly,” he said. On fundraising, he said Ashok Leyland has pumped in Rs 1,200 crore for the production of the IeV vehicles.
“At a time when Switch Mobility becomes much more mature with more market share, we may look for extended investment. Right now, the parent company has invested,” he said. On whether the two products would be shipped overseas, he said the vehicles would be exported to neighbouring countries including Nepal, and Bangladesh initially. “Today some of our customers are from Nepal, Bangladesh. Initially, it will serve India and neighbouring countries. Our intention is to go to South East Asian Countries, the Middle East, and GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council countries) where Ashok Leyland has gone with its light commercial vehicle products,” he said. The Switch IeV presents an incredibly attractive value proposition for micro, small, and medium enterprises, and cottage industries, with its exceptionally low total cost of ownership, coupled with a commitment to high uptime. “The launch of our Switch IeV series electric vehicles is a defining moment for Switch, having established a strong reputation in the e-bus market…the Switch IeV Series is a testament to our dedication to driving positive change in the industry,” he added.