Eicher Motors CEO Siddhartha Lal. Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Eicher Motors CEO Siddhartha Lal. Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Volvo, Eicher developing new range of electric vehicles for public transportation

VE Commercial Vehicles, a joint venture of Eicher and Volvo, has earmarked capex of 500 crore for 2018-19 and is working on an affordable range of AC buses to cater to public transit

New Delhi: VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV), a joint venture of Volvo Group India Pvt. Ltd and Eicher Motors Ltd, is developing a new line of products, including a complete range of electric vehicles for public transportation, Eicher Motors CEO Siddhartha Lal said. The company, which has earmarked a capex of 500 crore for 2018-19 towards new product development and capacity expansion, is working to drive in an affordable range of air-conditioned buses to cater to public transit.

In a message to shareholders in the company’s annual report for 2017-18, Lal said the company is also developing light and heavy-duty buses for the Middle East and African markets.

“We plan to have a complete range of electric mobility solutions for public transportation, offering world-class quality and comfort. We are also developing an affordable air-conditioned range of buses aimed at bringing superior comfort to public transit," Lal said.

The company has already commenced operations of its Skyline Pro Electric buses in Kolkata and thus joined the league of zero-emission vehicle manufacturers, he added.

VECV, which sold a record 65,932 vehicles in 2017-18, a growth of 12.5% over 2016-17, is also focussing on segments like construction, mining and e-commerce to drive future growth, he added.

On capex for 2018-19, Lal said: “We plan to invest 500 crore in VECV towards new product development and capacity enhancement."

On domestic business, Lal said the company continues to retain 88% market share in the high performance trucks segment (400+ BHP) and is focussed on targeting mining segments besides quarrying, road construction, and irrigation to drive growth. He added the company is preparing to introduce the BS-VI range of trucks and buses in the domestic market much before the April 1, 2020 deadline.

“We will have them in the market ahead of the April 1, 2020 deadline," he said. Bullish on the Middle East and Africa, Lal said the company is developing light and heavy-duty buses for these markets.

VECV has already entered the ASEAN market with sales beginning in the first quarter of the current financial year. It has also begun setting up assembly operations in Bangladesh, after establishing the completely knocked-down (CKD) operations in Kenya and Nigeria.

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