Mumbai: Ashok Leyland Ltd on Monday unveiled its Circuit series electric bus, the country’s first such indigenously made vehicle.
Designed and engineered in India, it’s in line with the company’s vision for the future of mass mobility, it said in a statement.
“We believe electric vehicles will happen sooner than later,” said T. Venkataraman, senior vice-president for the global bus platform at the firm, adding that while people have been talking about electric vehicles, Ashok Leyland wanted to be the first to unveil a production model.
Specifically developed for Indian road conditions, the zero-emission vehicle will be offered on multiple platforms and enjoys a subsidy under the government’s Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme. It can travel 150 km on a single charge, taking care of the so-called ‘range anxiety’, said Venkataraman.
The level of subsidy is governed by the charging speed, length of the bus, among other factors. Ashok Leyland will be the first bus maker to leverage the government subsidy.
Launched in April 2014, FAME is part of the government’s ambitious National Electric Mobility Mission Plan, which intends to put seven million electric and hybrid vehicles on the roads by 2020.
Ashok Leyland plans to sell close to 50 electric buses in the current fiscal and around 200 units next year. Of the Rs500 crore capital expenditure lined up for the bus business, the Chennai-based company plans to spend 10% on electric buses.
Ambuj Sharma, additional chief secretary, industries and commerce, Tamil Nadu, said the electric bus is a big leap in mass public transport. It would support the government initiative of reducing India’s Rs8 lakh crore fuel import bill. “It’s a promise for a brighter and cleaner future for all of us and for our future generations,” said Sharma.
Vinod K. Dasari, managing director, Ashok Leyland, said, “The Circuit series of buses is another testament to Ashok Leyland’s commitment to leverage India’s technological innovation to deliver relevant and best-in-class solutions for India and the world.”
The Hinduja Group flagship has delivered the bus ahead of schedule, he said, after committing in April 2015 to develop vehicles with full electric power trains.
Integrated with a fire detection and suppression system, the new range of buses are built on a simple, mass-market platform that will enable the operator to cater to customers in city centres with minimal operational and maintenance costs, said Venkataraman.