Indian commercial vehicle manufacturer, Ashok Leyland has confirmed an investment of about Rs 400-500 crore to accelerate the development of its electric vehicles. The company has already launched its Circuit series of electric buses in 2016 and with government committed to electrify mobility in India in next 10-12 years the company has already starting preparing for its electric vehicle strategy to stay ahead in the electric game. In an interview to ET Bureau Vinod Dasari, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland said “We are preparing ourselves for the electric vehicle movement that is going to happen over the next five to 10 years… it’s a question of survival… so we will invest at least Rs 400-500 crore over the next three to five years,”
Vinod Dasari is also the former president of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers Association (SIAM) and said that Government will have to increase investments in electric vehicle technology to bring down the overall cost to build an electric vehicle including the cost to build reliable and long-lasting batteries. No manufacturers can force consumers to buy electric vehicles, and the demand for it will increase only if the buyer sees economic sense and reliability.
The report by ET Bureau further added further added him saying, “If the government wants to move to EVs by 2030, you have to create an environment for the customer to buy an Electric Vehicle. That you can do by seeing how you can bring down the battery cost. The government must invest a lot more money in technology development of batteries."
Ashok Leyland has adopted a three-pronged strategy to expand its electric vehicle portfolio in India. It includes developing charging infrastructure and technology that will allow fast charging for electric buses and also on battery swapping technology which might be developed by the company along with Sun Mobility.
The existing Ashok Leyland Circuit Series of electric buses is available across various platforms and is powered by lithium ion batteries. The company claims a range of 120 kms on a single charge.