Ashok Leyland to launch electric bus Versa in India by 2017


Greater Noida: Hinduja flagship firm Ashok Leyland plans to launch a fully electric bus ‘Versa’ in the country by 2017.

The 36-seater bus, which is being showcased at the 4th Bus and Special Vehicle Show here, can go 90 miles in one charge and is a zero emissions vehicle.

“Depending upon the regulations, we expect to launch this vehicle in the country in the next two years,” Ashok Leyland Vice President, Buses, T Venkataraman said.

The vehicle comes as a completely built unit (CBU) from the company’s UK based arm Optare.

Elaborating on the features of the bus, Venkataraman said the bus emits zero noise and consumes just one unit of electricity for covering a distance of one kilometer.

“With increased awareness and sensitivity around environment safety and carbon footprints, the timing for the introduction of an electric bus is optimal. Versa is ideally placed to help deliver on our government’s commitment to make urban transport efficient and reduce our country’s carbon footprint,” Venkataraman said.

The company is one of the largest providers of electric and hybrid buses in the world and this electric vehicle would help India move up the path of “efficient, comfortable, responsible and sustainable urban transport”, he added.

In a move to boost electric vehicles sales in the country, the government has earmarked Rs 1,000 crore for the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan for the next two financial years.

When asked about the strategy for the domestic market, he said the company is focusing on 8-12 tonnes bus segment in the country.

“We currently have around 22 per cent market share in the 8-12 tonnes bus segment and we are looking to scale it up to 25 per cent in the forthcoming fiscal” Venkataraman said.

The company, which has over 60 per cent market share in above 12 tonnes bus category, aims to put different products in the market to cater to various requirements.

“The country is huge, so different applications are required. Some customers need CNG based products, some require vehicles with smaller wheel base and then there are products for feeder services,” Venkataraman said.

Commenting on the export plans, he said the company is looking at requirements in the Australian and South African markets.

The company currently exports to various markets including ASEAN, SAARC, LATAM, middle East and Africa, he added.

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