The Delhi-NCR-based JBM Auto has formally announced its joint venture with European bus manufacturer Solaris Bus & Coach S.A. to manufacture Ecolife full-electric buses in the country.
The Ecolife was first showcased at the 13th Auto Expo in February this year. JBM Solaris will invest Rs 300 crore towards engineering, design and development, manufacturing, and supply chain development among other focus areas in this electric mobility project completely made in India.
Introducing European ZEV tech
The Ecolife is a zero emission vehicle (ZEV) as it is powered by lithium batteries, which are fast charging, and runs up to 200km daily for city bus operation. This vehicle can also run on plug-in charging. The electric bus technology is adaptable to the city bus operation depending on demographic and geographic conditions. The company claims the savings over 10 years from the all-electric Ecolife is estimated at around 1150 equivalent tonnes of CO 2 / 420,000 litres of diesel per bus.
Highlights of the Ecolife bus are a corrosion-resistant monocoque structure, cantilever seats that give extra legroom for passengers and increased storage space underneath. It also incorporates other utility features such as passenger information system (PIS), vehicle health and monitoring system, among other things.
This JV aims at introducing globally proven European technology for electric vehicles (EVs), which is sustainable and affordable. The key focus will be towards locally developing indigenous sources for all key aggregates. While Solaris will bring in its proven domain strength in electric buses, JBM Auto will provide its in-house engineering and design expertise, market know-how along with the manufacturing facilities and infrastructure.
As reported earlier by Autocar Professional, production of the Ecolife buses – comprising 9- and 12-metre-long variants – will start by Q4 of FY2016-17 at Kosi, Uttar Pradesh. JBM Solaris plans to introduce the complete range of e-buses in phases.
L-R: Nishant Arya, executive director, and SK Arya, chairman of the JBM Group, at the reveal of the Ecolife zero emission bus at the Auto Expo 2016 in New Delhi in February.
Speaking on the joint venture, Nishant Arya, executive director, JBM Group, said, “Our association with Solaris Bus comes in as a just-in-time move towards developing green solutions that will transform the public transportation domain in India. I firmly believe that JBM's expertise in design and development, couple with Solaris’ rich experience in green mass transportation solutions will together result in developing products that are not only green but also convenient, safe and affordable”.
Dr. Andreas Strecker, CEO, Solaris Bus & Coach S.A, said: “We have supplied mass transportation solutions to more than 30 countries all over the world and we are extremely excited to partner with the JBM Group. This joint venture is a very important step for Solaris Bus and will ensure introduction of our proven technology in electric vehicles. JBM and Solaris together are set to revolutionise public transportation in India with Ecolife using globally proven and affordable technology”.
Nishant Arya added, “As a group, we are committed to creating and offering innovative green solutions. We are consistently participating in government initiatives such as Make in India and Smart City Development to contribute towards sustainable development of the nation. This JV between JBM Auto and Solaris Bus perfectly aligns with the government’s vision to make India a 100% electric vehicle nation by 2030.”
Ecolife second product after Citylife
Once in commercial production, the Ecolife ZEV will be the second indigenous mass public transport product from the JBM Group. The group had introduced the Citylife ultra-low-floor CNG bus for intra-city travel.
JBM Auto is the flagship company of the JBM Group and a leading manufacturer of auto components and buses. Its manufacturing facilities are strategically located near automobile hubs of India at Faridabad, Greater Noida, Nashik, Chennai, Sanand, Pune and Indore.