Switch Mobility, the global electric vehicle (EV) subsidiary of Hinduja’s flagship Ashok Leyland (ALL), is set to finalize the site for its dedicated EV plant in India in the next four to six weeks.
The company is in talks with multiple resources and will fill in at one of the locations near ALL’s existing factories. The Chennai-based resume maker has a total of seven factories located in Ennore (Tamil Nadu), Hosur (Tamil Nadu), Bhandara (Maharashtra), Alwar (Rajasthan) and Pantnagar (Uttarakhand).
Mahesh Babu, Director & CEO, Switch Mobility India; and COO, Switch Mobility, told FE: “We are currently evaluating several sites to make e-buses and e-LCVs. It would be emerging in the adjacent property of one of Ashok Leyland’s factories. The company is preparing multiple blueprints based on of several states’ EV policies, and a final decision would be made within the next four to six weeks.”
At present, the e-buses are being built at ALL’s factory in Ennore, about 50 e-buses are currently in production for Karnataka STC. The new plant will have an initial production capacity of 2,500 buses per year and would be doubled based on demand.
Switch Mobility is also in talks with investors to raise funds in the range of $200-300 million to invest in setting up the plant. Switch is likely to pump nearly 1,000 crore into building the EV production unit.
“We have already announced in the market that we will focus on e-buses, e-SCVs and LCVs. We have already said that we will electrify our popular LCVs Dost and Bada Dost and use those platforms for the electrification process of our products that will hit the market within a year,” he said.
Within the first three months of its current fiscal year, the company had received orders for 600 buses and could end the year with approximately 1,000 buses. Of these, 600 buses would be delivered this year. Switch is also exploring the possibility of exporting these vehicles to Western Asia and Southeast Asian countries. “These vehicles have a 60% integration rate and our first priority is to sell them on the domestic market. In the future, we will, among other things, make country/region-specific buses with left-hand drive and a heat regulator,” he said.
In order to further increase the localization level, the company is in talks with the companies selected under the PLI scheme for battery cell production. “The battery cell components contribute about 30% of the production and if we can source it from our own companies, we will be able to increase the level of localization,” said Babu.