Hinduja group open to outside funding for E-vehicle company

Chennai (IANS) The Hinduja group’s electric vehicle company Switch Mobility Ltd will roll out its electric (E) buses and light commercial vehicles (LCV) from the group’s UK and Indian plants, said top group official.

He also said group company Ashok Leyland will continue to look at developing vehicles powered by alternate fuels like bio-diesel, LNG including hydrogen cells.

Speaking to reporters Dheeraj Hinduja, Chairman, Ashok Leyland Ltd and Switch Mobility said financial investors are showing keen interest in the company for a tie-up and the group wants Switch Mobility to be independent even though it is a subsidiary of Ashok Leyland.

Hinduja said the group wants Switch Mobility to be financially independent and is open to raise funds from other sources while the parent Ashok Leyland Ltd has already met the funding needs adequately.

Hinduja said already about 280 electric vehicles of the group are on the roads in India and overseas logging over 26 million miles.

Early this month Switch Mobility said it has secured orders for a 2,000-strong E-LCV fleet with customer trials starting this month.

The company will be converting Ashok Leyland’s LCVs Dost and Bada Dost into E-powered ones.

According to Hinduja, Switch Mobility will be following the revenue model of pay-per-use or subscription models.

Officials said the E-buses and LCVs will be rolled out at Switch’s UK and Ashok Leyland’s plants in India.

However, India will be playing a big part in terms of component sourcing and manufacturing in the Hinduja group’s global E-vehicle plans.

The group will also enter into joint ventures in other markets for assembling the completely knocked down (CKD) kits shipped out of India.

As a proof of concept, Switch can also own and operate some E-vehicles so that the market gains confidence and go for them, said Andy Palmer, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Switch Mobility.

He said the focus is on rolling out light in weight vehicles on a modular platform.

Palmer said the company will make E-buses and LCVs now and not medium or heavy commercial vehicles.

He said Switch Mobility has already started bidding for orders tendered out.

Queried about the customer crossover point from diesel to E-vehicles Vipin Sondhi, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland said it would emerge over a period of time based on government subsidies and market demand.

Sondhi also said there will be demand for vehicles powered by internal combustion engines as the needs of different markets are different.

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