The electrification of buses used in public transport country-wide is seen as a major step towards cutting down emissions and helping India reach its target of reducing 1 billion tonnes of carbon emissions by 2030. As of now of the total 1.5 lakh buses that ply on Indian roads, around 4647 of them have been electrified and one company that’s taking up the challenge with panache is definitely PMI Electro Mobility
This Haryana-headquartered company that transformed from a coachbuilder to a full-fledged electric bus manufacturer, it’s one of the leading manufacturers in this segment. In FY2022, it registered 397 buses and so far in FY2023, the registration number clocks closer to 611.
The company says its focus on being able to supply and meet demand rather than just winning orders helped get an edge over peers. Sandeep Bharadwaj, CEO, PMI Electro Mobility Solutions said that the company does not focus on competing with other players but rather “try to deliver our best. I think that probably has placed me where I am today because we focused on orders and deliveries. Now we are focusing on aftersales.”
In an interaction with Express Mobility, Bharadwaj along with Manvi Jain, Head of Corporate Affairs, PMI Electro Mobility & Director PMI Coaches outlined plans about the new segments they are set to enter and the business strategy going forward.
“When you look at PMI, we have always placed small footprints. We gather small orders from all across the country and we keep our order size in a way that we can deliver we can maintain and run buses effectively. That first of all differentiates us from others. We are not looking to bag an order of 5,000 buses and then just keep it reserved for the year,” elaborated Jain (pictured above).
PMI Electro Mobility despite being a young player has delivered 862 e-buses across the country, making it the largest player in the segment. It has clocked more 1.25 crore green kilometres on its e-bus ranging from regions like Rajkot to Ladakh. One of the USPs the company says it has is of having fast-charging capabilities. The e-buses can be fully charged in under 30 minutes, which gives them a range of around 160km.
Jain added, “we have depots across 24 cities in India run by PMI people. We have given employment to more than 4,000 professionals, we ensure that once the bus moves out from my plant, it is my baby and I have to maintain and run it for 10 years without any risk to the end customer.”
“All these are trouble-free kilometres I think rather than focusing on competitors, we are just focused on our product and deliverables to keep it simple,” added Bharadwaj.
When asked about the company’s financial performance and investment, Jain pointed out that, “PMI Electro by far is a promoter-held company. Our promoter investment is near about Rs 100 crore, by which we have been able to achieve whatever we have done today.”
To meet increasing demand, the company is also setting up a new plant in Maharashtra for which it will invest over Rs 500 crore in a phased manner.
Pandemic, EVs and new segments
It is no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic acted as a disruptor in many ways but for the electrified mobility segment, it acted as a catalyst for accelerating adoption. Bharadwaj (pictured below) explained, “During the Covid-19 period, electric vehicles came up in a very big way. Before the pandemic, there wasn’t much talk about electric vehicles. It was in a very nascent stage. But after that everything happened (read demand).”
He further stated that except for cells, PMI Electro Mobility has localised everything. “In fact, we get these cells, and we assemble the battery here. We have an all-women battery plant where they produce battery modules for e-buses.”
When asked about the impact of the geo-political situation on the company, Jain said that while Foton is its technology partner, it has not invested a single rupee in the company.
Going forward, PMI Electro Mobility is also planning to enter new segments, while the company is tight-lipped about the details, it is expected that it will be entering the electric truck segment by November 2023.