Switch to invest Rs 1k cr in EV plant

Switch Mobility, the electric vehicle arm of Ashok Leyland, will likely be investing ₹1,000 crore in a devoted EV plant in South India and the people in the know stated it was likely to be in the state of Tamil Nadu, on the outskirts of Chennai. The plan is to set up 30,000 units of E-LCV capacity and 10,000 units electric buses that may assist Ashok Leyland to cater to rising demand for EVs for the last-mile goods and public transport. Switch Mobility last month commuted over ₹3,000 crore on the zero-carbon public and commercial transportation and set up a plant in Spain.

Completing one year, Switch has managed to secure order for 600 electric buses already, Mahesh Babu, CEO of Switch Mobility recently told reporters, adding that the group was eyeing a business of 5,000 buses or 15,000 small commercial vehicles in the next three to 5 years, which will help the EV arm generate close to a billion dollars of revenues.

“We have actively participated in tenders of over 7,000 buses. With the plans on table, we should be able to deliver over 500 buses in FY23, and in the next three to five years we should be able to grow this number 10-fold. There is a strong momentum in new orders emerging on the scene with the CESL and BEST orders. We are also talking to private operators, who are showing interest. The business should deliver healthy growth,” added Babu.

Currently, the buses are being assembled on the company’s Ennore facility; however, Switch will move to a plant with a dedicated channel, and it already has an independent balance sheet. The EV plant could have an LCV and bus and battery pack assembly under one roof. Babu confirmed the need for a dedicated facility but declined to share specifics.

Other than cell manufacturing, almost every part of the electric bus is localised to de-risk Switch from the global supply chain. Switch is already in talks with cell producers who won bids under the production-linked incentive scheme to supply cells locally. This will ensure that local content is spruced up. The buses produced by Switch will have a local content of over 60%, stated Babu.

To meet its future needs, Switch Mobility and its e-mobility-as-a-service unit Ohm Global are in talks with investors to raise funds for its EVs to the tune of over $250-300 million (combined), which is likely to be finalised in just a few weeks.