Ashok Leyland's 'new energy portfolio' to be ready in next two years

This is is part of the company's broader strategy to reduce its environmental impact and become a leader in the sustainable mobility sector. 

By Shahkar Abidi calendar 15 Jun 2023 Views icon3100 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Ashok Leyland's 'new energy portfolio' to be ready in next two years

Chennai-based Ashok Leyland said on Thursday that its new energy portfolio, which includes CNG, LNG, hydrogen ICE, hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles, and six battery electric vehicle is likely to be completed in the next couple of years. 

The company said in its latest investor report that it is investing heavily in research and development for new energy technologies, which it has been working on for the last eight years, and has already developed prototypes for several of these vehicles. It is also working with partners to develop the necessary infrastructure for these vehicles, such as charging stations and refuelling stations. The auto major claims that the new energy portfolio is part of its broader strategy to reduce its environmental impact and become a leader in the sustainable mobility sector. 

Providing further insights into the development, the company highlighted that it is continuing to work on its CNG, LNG, H2-ICE, H2FC versions for its M&HCV and long-haul trucks. 

Secondly, for the ICV trucks which include E-Comet and Boss, the focus remains to expand it to H2-ICE and BEV fuelled vehicles. 

Likewise, in the LCV good segments, which boasts models such as Dost, Bada Dost, and Partner, the company is in the process of developing CNG and BEV-run vehicles. 

Similarly, in the MCV bus segment, Ashok Leyland is working on introducing LNG, H2-ICE, and H2FC. The CNG and BEV models are already available. On the other hand, for the long-haul coaches, the company is likely to bring out CNG, LNG, H2-ICE and H2FC. 

Furthermore, in the ICV bus segment, the company is looking to bring out H2-ICE, H2FC and BEV.  The CNG version is already available. However, for the LCV passengers, the intention is to expand it to BEV as well. 

Among the BEV, the company is currently developing six products which includes a 12 metres, 7 meters, 5 metres, and new 9 metre e-buses in addition to two e-LCVs. 

Additionally, the investor presentation also highlighted that it will be expanding into West Africa and South Africa, taking its presence to 38 countries by the end of FY23, from 28 countries in FY21. 

The Hinduja Group's flagship company's announcement comes even as it had during the Auto Expo 2023 held in Delhi earlier this year unveiled a slew of products including a battery electric vehicle, a fuel cell electric vehicle, a hydrogen internal combustion engine (ICE), an LNG vehicle, an intercity CNG bus, and a mini passenger bus. FCEV, H2-ICE, and LNG are built on AVTR Modular Vehicle Platform and incorporate the majority of the sub-aggregates from successfully running current diesel vehicles. 

Push to include H2-ICE in the PLI scheme

In an earlier interaction with Autocar Professional, Saravanan suggested that the hydrogen-internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, which appear to be low-hanging fruit for Indian OEMs, should be included in the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for the automobile industry. The automotive industry has already made a representation to the government in this regard.

Speaking to this publication, Saravanan said, "We believe hydrogen-ICE is a viable technology for India, given that the entire ecosystem (for ICE remains in place). At the most basic level, it is a proven technology," he added.

So far, Ashok Leyland, Eicher Motors, Pinnacle Mobility, Tata Motors, and Booma Innovative have been chosen to make hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as part of the Rs 25,938 crore production-linked incentive plan for the automobile and auto component industry.

"Unfortunately, the hydrogen ICE is not a part of the PLI scheme. So, we have made representations to the government saying that the PLI for hydrogen fuel cells and battery electric vehicles is good, but it will be better if we also include hydrogen ICE as a future technology," Saravanan went on to say that he doesn't know what the government thinks about the issue.

He further noted that the advantage of hydrogen-ICE from a production standpoint is that most Indian OEMs are familiar with ICE technology, and thus it can likely be brought to market faster than hydrogen fuel cells, which is new to most of them. "So, there is a comfort factor. Therefore, it sort of probably has a soft spot in most OEMs' portfolios," he continued, before adding that each application needs to be carefully evaluated. 

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