Ashok Leyland to make electric, hybrid buses in India



Commercial vehicle-maker Ashok Leyland Ltd is planning to roll out electric and hybrid buses in India from next year, said a top company official here Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters, managing director Vinod Dasari said the company's British subsidiary Optare is a leading manufacturer of electric and hybrid buses and the idea is to bring its products to India.

"The proposed buses will be made and marketed under Ashok Leyland brand name. The company would also look at exporting the vehicles to neighbouring markets," he said.

Dasari was speaking to the media on the occasion of visit of British Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable.

The company would showcase the first Optare vehicle in India next January, he said.

Dasari also said that as the electric and hybrid buses cost a lot, the government would have to support them. He also thanked the British government for its support.

According to Dasari, the company would make investments in electric battery handling facilities and tooling for making the bus.

For the hybrid version, Ashok Leyland would supply the diesel engine while the electric motor, batteries would be imported.

The electric bus can run for 200-300 km per charge and is also dependent on the battery size. The bus would cost around Rs.2-3 crore.

Meanwhile, Cable said his country is keen on collaboration with India in industry and education.

"Ashok Leyland has impressive manufacturing facilities and it has played a key role in India's growth story. I am pleased they continue to invest in the UK's automotive sector at Optare in Leeds and their R&D centre in Warwickshire," he said.

Cable noted that electric vehicles will be increasingly important in reducing the impact of global warming. This is truly an example of the shared importance Britain and India place on developing the next generation of electric vehicles as well as advanced manufacturing, he added. - IANS