In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make In India slogan, Ashok Leyland on Wednesday announced that it will manufacture electric, hybrid buses in India next year in collaboration with its UK-based subsidiary Optare, one of the world’s leading electric and hybrid bus makers.
The company will showcase two of Optare’s buses ‘Solo’ and ‘Versa’ at the ensuing bus show in January next year in Delhi. The proposed electric and hybrid range of buses will be manufactured at its Trichy (Tamil Nadu), Alwar (Rajasthan) and West Asia plants, said MD Vinod K Dasari.
“The proposed buses will be made, marketed in India by Ashok Leyland under its brand name. The company would also explore exporting such buses to the neighbouring countries,” Dasari said in the presence of Vince Cable, MP and UK secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, who was the first British minister to visit the company’s headquarters in Chennai.
He said: “There won’t be any heavy investments to make these products in India as we had already invested enough. With some modifications to suit Indian conditions, these buses will be made at Trichy and Alwar plants. Except engine and engine-related parts, these products will be made with our frugal engineering capabilities in India.”
The price could vary from R2-3 crore for an electric bus and the company is looking at the Centre’s national mobility mission to subsidise the buses on the lines of the UK government, which provides full support to Optare as part of the country’s global warming initiatives, Dasari said.