Switch Mobility, the global electric vehicle (EV) subsidiary of leading Hinduja utility vehicle flagship Ashok Leyland (GER), will finalize the location of its dedicated EV factory to be installed in India within the next four to six weeks.
The company is in deliberation with multiple resources and will focus on one of the sites near ALL’s existing factories. The Chennai-based CV manufacturer has a total of seven factories in Ennore (Tamil Nadu), Hosur (Tamil Nadu), Bhandara (Maharashtra), Alwar (Rajasthan) and Pantnagar (Uttarakhand).
Mahesh Babu, Director and CEO, Switch Mobility India; and COO, Switch Mobility, told FE: “Currently we are evaluating different sites to manufacture e-buses and e-LCVs. He would come to the premises adjacent to one of Ashok Leyland’s factories. The company is preparing several plans based on different states’ EV policies, and a final decision will be made within the next four to six weeks.
At present the electric buses are being built at ALL factory in Ennore, about 50 electric buses are currently being produced for Karnataka STC. The new factory will have an initial production capacity of 2,500 buses per year and this will be doubled according to demand.
Additionally, Switch Mobility is in talks with investors to raise funds in the amount of $200-300 million to invest in setting up the plant. Switch is likely to pump close to 1,000 crore for the construction of the electric vehicle manufacturing unit.
“We have already announced to the market that we will launch into e-buses, e-SCVs and LCVs. We have already said that we will electrify our popular Dost and Bada Dost LCVs and use these platforms for the electrification process of our products that will hit the market within a year,” he said.
In the first three months of the current fiscal year, the company booked orders for 600 buses and could end the year with around 1,000 buses. Of this number, 600 buses would be delivered this year. Switch is also exploring the possibility of exporting these vehicles to West Asia and Southeast Asian countries. “These vehicles have a 60% indigenization level and our first priority is to sell them in the domestic market. In the future, we will manufacture country/region-specific buses with left-hand drive and heat control, among others,” he said.
To further increase the level of localization, the company is in talks with companies that have been selected under the PLI program for the production of battery cells. “Battery cell components contribute about 30% of production and if we are able to source from our own companies, we can increase the level of localization,” Babu said.