Home / Companies / News /  Ashok Leyland has ambitious EV plans for a global play: Dheeraj Hinduja

Mumbai: Leading commercial vehicle manufacturer Ashok Leyland Ltd has ambitious plans for the electric vehicle (EV) segment in the short to medium term, said the company chairman Dheeraj G Hinduja on Wednesday.

He was addressing the shareholders at Ashok Leyland’s 71st annual general meeting (AGM) today.

“Your company has ambitious plans for a global play in the EV segment in both passenger and light commercial vehicles in the short and medium terms," Hinduja said, adding that Ashok Leyland will pursue its goal of achieving zero emission mobility.

The CV maker has been operating a fleet of electric buses as a pilot program in Ahmedabad and Chennai, and in London through its UK-based subsidiary Optare Plc.

The company, which is working to launch electric buses with swappable batteries and fast charging systems in India, has been investing in the research and development (R&D) of EVs over years. Ashok Leyland’s total R&D expenditure in FY20 stood at 673 crore, which was almost 4% of its annual turnover, up from 658 crore spent in FY19.

The company is also working on a flash charge version of its electric buses. Earlier in January, it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ABB Power Products and Systems India Ltd to develop a pilot electric bus based on the latter’s flash charge technology, which tops up the battery in seconds while passengers get on and off the bus.

Meanwhile, last month the company updated that Optare began delivering the batch of 21 battery-run Metrodecker EVs (double-deck electric buses) to the UK-based fleet operator First York.

Hinduja said that the company plans to combine forces between India and UK on engineering and sourcing capabilities to develop EVs for the global markets.

He also mentioned that Ashok Leyland is developing electric variants on its upcoming light commercial vehicle (LCV) platform codenamed ‘Phoenix’. It would be developed in electric versions for India and international markets, Hinduja said.

“The contour of our future product plans would revolve around what is popularly known worldwide as CASE mobility. CASE is an acronym for connected, autonomous, shared and electric vehicles," he said in his speech today.

Hinduja stressed on the company’s three levers of growth going forward – LCVs, push to export shipments and defence business.

With its upcoming Phoenix range, built on all-new BSVI compliant modular platform in right- and left-hand options, the company aims to increase its reach in the domestic LCV market.

“Though a late entrant, today LCV business contributes about 40% of our total vehicle volume. We are set to unveil a brand new range of LCVs with which your company is poised to double its reach to address 65% of the total LCV volumes in India," Hinduja said.

He said that the new LCV and AVTR platforms will steer the company’s export volumes in key markets such as Saarc, Middle East, Africa and Asean.

On the defence business, Hinduja said that the company is examining new opportunities under the defence ministry’s import embargo on a list of 101 items that was issued last month.

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