Ashok Leyland launches first India-made electric bus

The Hinduja flagship Ashok Leyland has launched its first locally designed, engineered and produced battery electric bus series Circuit. The company has developed the circuit series electric bus, a zero-emission product, with some technology inputs sourced from its UK subsidiary Optare, which is a pioneer of electric buses.

“Depending on the configuration and battery sizes, we can extend up to 300 km. These buses can cost anywhere between ₹1.5 crore and ₹3.5 crore depending on the number of seats and battery sizes,” Vinod K Dasari, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland said, while unveiling the bus here. Battery for these buses will be imported from US and is expected to last five to seven years. The local content in the bus is about 30-40 per cent.

It will have a seating capacity for 31 passengers though it will be available in multiple configurations based on customers’ requirements. It comes with several benefits such as zero emission, longer life cycle, lower maintenance costs and higher residual value when compared with conventional diesel buses, the high initial cost is one of the major barriers.

The company is working on getting subsidy support under the FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles), programme of the Centre to make it attractive for the buyers, according to T Venkataraman, Senior Vice- President – Global Bus, Ashok Leyland. The company will target metro circuit, tarmac and city circuits to sell these buses. It will target heritage sites too.

Meanwhile, some states such as Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra have been adopting such green vehicles and Ashok Leyland is in active discussion with them. It is hoping to clinch a deal soon. The new bus roll out comes on the back of its preparation for the emerging opportunities in the alternative transport solution market in the country.

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