The electric double decker bus unveiled recently by Switch Mobility, the EV subsidiary of Hinduja flagship Ashok Leyland has been receiving good response with a number of state transport undertakings (STUs) showing keen interest in its deployment in their public transport system. The company has also been getting lot of enquiries from the tourism sector which intends to use the buses in the prime tourism locations of the country.
Switch EiV 22, India’s first electric double decker was well-received in the country, when it was rolled out in Mumbai as it brought back the iconic double decker memories, especially for Mumbaikars. The excitement was high as many people embraced the experience of the electric double decker during the launch in Mumbai.
“Currently, we have at least 7-8 states who have shown interest in Switch EiV 22 and we are working with them,” Mahesh Babu, CEO, Switch Mobility India & COO, Switch Mobility Ltd told FE.
There has also been an expression of interest from Bengaluru. In the near future, the company expects some tenders to be floated for electric double deckers given the value proposition in terms of footprint, passenger capacity and sustainability. Apart from STUs, the company has been receiving a lot of interest from the tourism sector for key tourist locations across India. “We are working with relevant stakeholders to cater to such requirements,” he said.
The electric double deckers contribute to 41% lesser space on the road, offering higher passenger capacity per footprint, with 86% more passengers for only a 18% increase in weight, and 36% less energy consumed per passenger. This further contributes to decongestion and lowers operational expenses, along with democratising zero carbon mobility in line with Switch’s vision, he said.
In the first phase, Switch Mobility will supply, maintain and operate 200 electric double deckers in Mumbai, with supplies expected to start in Q4 of this financial year. The buses will be operated as part of the GCC contract for 12 years, in routes identified by BEST. These electric double deckers will contribute to a significant carbon savings of over 14,000 tonnes equivalent to planting over 86,000 trees, and fuel savings of 26 million litres of diesel annually, Mahesh Babu said.
Dheeraj Hinduja, executive chairman, Ashok Leyland had recently told media persons that for the EV subsidiary Switch Mobility, the company will be having a capex of $150 million to $200 million over a period of two years. That may be spent in UK and India, Hinduja had said the company is close to finalising strategic investors for Switch Mobility and the announcement isexpected soon. “ We have been for the past months in discussions with many investors. We were not in a hurry to seal the deal as we want strategic investors who share our company’s vision,” he had said.
Switch Mobility had in August this year unveiled the electric double decker bus, designed, developed and manufactured in India and utilising Switch’s global electric bus experience. The bus is equipped with the latest technology, ultra-modern design, highest safety and best-in-class comfort features. The renewed iconic double decker bus is designed to cater to the public transportation in the country and will set new standards in the intra-city bus market. It can ferry nearly twice the number of seated passengers as a comparable single decker bus with just 18% increase in kerb weight, according to Switch Mobility.