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Ashok Leyland plans new EV manufacturing plant

Bada Dost electrified commercial vehicle (Source: Ashok Leyland)

Ashok Leyland has announced that it plans to set up a new manufacturing facility in the country to roll out electric vehicles.

The Chennai-based company has also lined up a Rs 500 crore investment to develop powertrains based on alternative fuels like CNG, hydrogen, and electric for its commercial vehicles range

The company has already announced a $200 million (approximately Rs 1,500 crore) investment through its UK-based arm Switch Mobility for electric mobility.

The commercial vehicle company plans to expand its electric vehicle portfolio as well as develop new engines, keeping in mind the changing market requirements in the domestic as well as international markets.

"In Spain, we are coming up with a manufacturing facility and R&D centre and there are plans to grow this over the next few years. In India, we will be optimizing the facilities that are available with Ashok Leyland. But I'm sure very soon we will require an independent facility as well. And that is something that is being looked at by the management team," Ashok Leyland Executive Chairman Dheeraj Hinduja said.

"We are looking at all the opportunities and options available, so that capacity never becomes an issue if the market requires more products. So, I wouldn't put a date to it right now. But we are keeping all our alternatives and options open," Hinduja stated.

He noted that now, the company feels quite comfortable regarding the production capacity for the next two years.

"We feel quite comfortable that for the immediate, let's say, 24 months or so. Ashok Leyland would be able to provide the electric products that are needed for Switch," Hinduja noted.

On the company's EV product plans, he said Dost and Bada Dost models would be utilized to cater to the domestic and the SAARC markets.

"We are also looking at the production of a brand-new LCV (light commercial vehicle) range from the perspective of Switch, which will be for the European UK and the US markets," Hinduja said.

He stated that the company has electrified Dost and Bada Dost and prototypes are currently running

"We are looking at Q4 of 2022 to be able to start production of our electric LCV from Switch's perspective," Hinduja stated.

Ashok Leyland is investing around Rs 500-700 crore for products for the domestic market, while Switch plans to spend close to $200 million in the next two three years for the development of their new products, he added.

"It encompasses the electric buses and the electric LCV programme as well. But like I said, this is an ongoing programme. Our immediate requirement would be around $200 million, but to complete all these programmes, of course, over time, more and more funds will be devoted to it," Hinduja said.

Over the next decade, alternative powertrains comprising battery electric and fuel cell electric will emerge, and Ashok Leyland has dedicated teams focusing on the development of these segments.

"In the next 3-4 years, we expect to spend around Rs 500 crore in the development of these technologies. Our ambition is to steadily move towards being carbon neutral, across all stages, while being customer-centric," Hinduja said.

He further said: "When we talk about alternative fuels, CNG, LNG, hydrogen, electric, we are working on guaranteeing that we can cater to all the requirements of the market."

The company's vision is to be a top-10 global commercial vehicles player creating reliable and differentiated products and solutions while delivering outstanding stakeholder value, he added. 

Author : Debi Dash
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