Switch Mobility, the electric vehicle division of Hinduja Group flagship Ashok Leyland, on Tuesday unveiled electric bus — EiV12 –, eyeing to garner a major chunk of the electric vehicle industry, equipped with a host of customer-friendly features.
With today’s launch, the company aims to serve inter-city, intra-city, staff transportation, school segment among other sectors, according to company officials. The buses will be available in variants based on travel which ranges between 100km to 300km on a single charge. According to company Director and Chief Executive Officer Mahesh Babu, Switch Mobility is in discussions with several state governments for the launch of these electric buses.
Talking to reporters after unveiling the buses here, he said, the bus will be priced “close to Rs one crore,” and will be carrying 65 per cent localisation levels. “We are in discussions with several state governments for these electric buses. Talks are on with the Tamil Nadu government,” he said. Company chairman Dheeraj Hinduja said Switch Mobility has earmarked 300 million pounds as investments to be spread over next three to five years.
“The investments will be for developing new product range and plans include setting up of new technology development centre,” he said. To a query, he said the company was aiming to bring in ‘commanalities’ on the EV buses sold in India, Europe and in other markets. Babu said the company would be making products across variants — including low-floor buses for city transportation, buses that would be used at airport tarmac, employee transportation.
He stated that the buses would be serving more Business to Business segments and be more ‘customer oriented’. Asked about the recent fire accidents involving electric vehicles, Hinduja said the company executives have the ‘know-how’ of the operations of electric vehicles from the experience gained company’s earlier subsidiary Optare, the United Kingdom. “Safety is paramount for us and in these buses there five levels of protocols followed,” he said.
On setting up dealership network, he said Switch would have its own ‘dedicated’ network and would have a ‘separate team’. According to company officials, the buses would be available in two variants EiV 12 low floor and EiV 12 standard buses that would offer best in reliability, range and comfort. “The company currently has an order book of over 600 buses,” Babu said. “The launch of our next generation electric bus platform in India is an important milestone for Switch Mobility. Our aspiration is to make electric products more accessible in India, the United Kingdom, Europe and many global markets,” Hinduja said.
“With a strong heritage and proven expertise of the Hinduja Group and Ashok Leyland in the commercial vehicle market, we are confident that through more such offerings of electric buses and soon to be launched electric vehicles, we will accelerate our vision to be at the forefront,” he said. Babu said the EiV 12 platform has a unique, advanced global EV architecture to deliver superior efficiency, safety and reliability. “The product on this platform have been designed with cutting-edge technology to deliver delightful customer experience. I strongly believe that Switch iON connected vehicle platform, offers multiple solutions to our fleet operators, to enhance business value proposition” he said.