Switch Mobility, the global electric vehicle (EV) subsidiary of Hinduja flagship commercial vehicle major Ashok Leyland (ALL), will finalise the location for its dedicated EV plant to be set up in India in the next four to six week’s time.
The company is in deliberations with multiple resources and will zero in on one of the locations near ALL’s existing factories. The Chennai-based CV maker has a total of seven plants in Ennore (Tamil Nadu), Hosur (Tamil Nadu), Bhandara (Maharashtra), Alwar (Rajasthan) and Pantnagar (Uttarakhand).
Mahesh Babu, director & CEO, Switch Mobility India; and COO, Switch Mobility, told FE: “Currently, we are evaluating different sites to make e-buses and e-LCVs. It would come up in the adjacent premise of one of the plants of Ashok Leyland. The company is preparing multiple blue prints based on the EV policies of different states, and a final decision would be taken within the next four to six weeks.”
At present, the e-buses are being built at ALL’s Ennore plant, around 50 e-buses are currently under production for Karnataka STC. The new plant will have an initial production capacity of 2,500 buses per annum and it would be doubled based on the demand.
Also, Switch Mobility is in talks with investors to raise funds to the tune of $200-300 million for the purpose of investing into setting up of the factory. Switch is likely to pump in close to `1,000 crore for building the EV manufacturing unit.
“We have already announced in the market that we will be into e-buses, e-SCVs and LCVs. We have already said we will electrify our popular LCVs Dost and Bada Dost and use those platforms for the electrification process of our products which will hit the market within an year,” he said.
Within the first three months of the current fiscal, the company had bagged orders for 600 buses and might end the year with around 1,000 buses. Of this, 600 buses would be delivered this year itself. Switch is also exploring the possibility of exporting these vehicles to West Asia and Southeast Asian countries. “These vehicles have an indigenisation level of 60% and our first priority is to sell them in the domestic market. Going forward, we will make country/region specific buses with left hand drive and heat controller, among others,” he said.
To further increase the localisation level, the company is in talks with those companies who have got selected under the PLI scheme for battery cell production. “The battery cell components contribute around 30% of the production and if we are able to source it from our own companies, we will be able to increase the localisation level,” Babu said.