Ashok Leyland outlines ambitious EV plans over short- to medium-term

by Sricharan R 09 Sep 2020

As we celebrate World EV day globally, leading commercial vehicle manufacturer, Ashok Leyland during its 71st annual general meeting said it has ambitious plans for the electric vehicle (EV) segment in the short- to medium-term. These plans are on a global scale and are expected to be both on passenger and light commercial vehicles. 

Speaking to Autocar Professional, Karthik Athamanathan, Senior Vice President and Head - eMobility Solution, Ashok Leyland, stated that they are working on various products that are happening which are at various stages of developments and with different energies. 

“The technology readiness level is somewhere in-between 5-8 in the TRL scale. Due to the downturn, we had earlier decided to go slow on the EV space. Post the pandemic, we decided to move much more aggressively. And, now we are in the process of making drastic plans at a global level. These plans will pan out for 2-3 years,” the senior VP said.

Ashok Leyland has been constantly investing in the research and development of EV over the years. The company has also collaborated with ABB power products and systems to develop a pilot on flat charge technology and with Sun Mobility to develop electric mobility solutions, a few years back. Recently, Ashok Leyland’s subsidiary Optare delivered 21 battery run Metrodecker EVs to the UK fleet operator First York.

Sharing his thoughts about the pandemic push for EVs in India, Karthik said, “The cost plays a major role here. The context of interpreting the pandemic driving the EV is little subjective. There is not much of qualitative reasoning than actual quantitative behaviour. Predominantly, people want to use private vehicles rather than use public transport. But we are watching cautiously and we want to understand what the market is upto. Commercial vehicles run more KM than the private vehicle and the total cost would be less when it runs more. TCO is much more important at CVs. So EV as a commercial vehicle makes sense. We think the long distance CV will take a long time to come. First will be the buses as the government policy and subsidies push for it. Then it will be the LCVs because of the e-commerce and delivery guys pushing for it. After that we can see the long distance CV.”