Ashok Leyland in search of right investors for EV business
Ashok Leyland Limited, the commercial automotive giant headquartered in Chennai, recently transferred its electric vehicle (EV) business to its Switch Mobility subsidiary and now it waiting for right partners to tap growth opportunities, a top official announced.
Gopal Mahadevan, chief financial officer for Ashok Leyland, revealed that Switch Mobility will be responsible for producing electric version of its ICE vehicles like the Dost and Bada Dost. The plans will obviously need huge investments, for which the manufacturer is in search of right partners. Revealing future plans, Mahadevan added that the EV initiative would be extremely crucial for the company and it attracted a bit of interest from investors.
Speaking on the topic, the top financial officer said, “We need investment for product development and technology for e-LCVs and e-buses. The EV initiative is going to be extremely crucial for us. We have seen quite a bit of interest from investors, but we are waiting for the right financial and strategic partners.”
Pushing ahead with its plans to reduce its carbon footprint, the Indian manufacturer is planning to produce and roll out two commercial vehicles (trucks) in the compressed natural gas (CNG) version before the end of 2021. The two commercial vehicles planned to be launched in the fourth quarter (Q4) of this year will be ICVs (intermediate commercial vehicle) in the environment-friendly CNG segment. After that, the company will try to launch a new product in the CNG version every quarter.
Vipin Sondhi, managing director and chief executive of Ashok Leyland, added that the government of India is encouraging CNG to reduce carbon emissions and they were trying their best to ensure that a large part of the fleet become capable of running on CNG. He expressed hope that introduction of CNG vehicles in the ICV and LCV segments will help the company in increasing considerable market share in the coming years.
When asked for a comment on challenges faced by the company, the top executive stressed that soaring prices of commodities, shortage of semiconductors and lack of shipping containers for the exports remained big hurdles on the way to growth even as demand is expected to grow further on the back of infrastructure development by the government. However, the government’s scrappage policy and Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme is expected to provide a much-needed boost to the industry.