Pinnacle Industries, which is among the 20 companies that got approval to launch electric vehicle manufacturing under the production-linked incentives scheme, will invest Rs 2,000 crore to set up EV manufacturing units in Pune and Indore, according to a senior company official.
The Pune-based company, which has been into automotive seatings, interiors for speciality vehicles since 1996, has already set up an electric vehicle unit under the Eka label and has two bus models awaiting regulatory nods. In September 2021, the government announced the PLI scheme for the auto sector, offering Rs 26,058 crore in incentives along with 12 other manufacturing sectors.
The scheme for the auto sector seeks to incentivise domestic manufacturing of high-value advanced automotive technology vehicles and products, and expects over the next five years the scheme to attract over Rs 42,500 crore in new investments, incremental production worth over Rs 2.3 lakh crore and generate over 7.5 lakh new jobs. Last month, the government cleared 20 PLI applications out of 115 it received since the scheme was announced.
“We are one of the 20 successful applicants for the auto PLI scheme for the EV segment. We will be investing Rs 2,000 crore over the next five years to develop EV buses and build manufacturing units in Pune and Pithampur near Indore. “The plants should be ready over the next 12-18 months, and we plan to invest Rs 2,000 crore into the EV business over the next five years,” Pinnacle Industries and Eka CMD Sudhir Mehta told PTI.
He said the company’s EV unit has already developed two buses (9 and 12 meters or 32-60 seaters category) and is awaiting homologation and other regulatory clearances which are expected over the next couple of months. Mehta said these buses will be fully developed and built locally barring battery cells and motors, which will be imported from Chinese vendors. A key feature of the Eka buses is that they are 10-15 per cent lighter than its rivals as they are built using stainless steel, he said.
The company already has a bus plant in Pithampur, where it has 40 acres and will set up another facility in Chakan in Pune on a 15-acre plot, and also a proto facility at Bhosri near Pune. Mehta said the funds for the EV play will come from internal accruals and debt apart from equity sale in Pinnacle Mobility Solutions, which is an EV subsidiary of the group. He is already in discussions with private equity players for equity raising, he said.
Mehta said he is talking to state road transport corporations for selling EV buses and he is looking at rolling out at least 1,000 buses in the first year. Over the long term, Eka plans to design, manufacture and supply a complete range of electric vehicles, fuel cell electric vehicles, and alternative fuel vehicles, he said.