New Delhi: Seeing major thrust for electric mobility from the government, VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV) has decided to supply about 400 electric buses to various state and transport units in the current financial year 2019-2020, said a top company official.
B Srinivas, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing of VECV Bus unit said that majorly 9 meter and 12 meter buses, designed with indigenously developed electrification technology Revolo, will be part of this supply target.
“In light and medium duty segment, VECV’s diesel buses hold a market share of about 25 per cent. With the supply target of 400 electric buses, we aspire to have a similar market share in this space also,” Srinivas told ETAuto.
To fulfil the target the company has participated in four to five tenders from different cities including Chandigarh, Bangalore, and NTPC and also renewed supply orders from Kolkata.
VECV, a 50:50 joint venture between Indian Eicher Motors and Swedish Volvo Group, has recently bagged order of 40 e-buses from Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) in Mumbai and will start delivering the order by the end of July. The company has also supplied three buses in Kolkata last year and planning to deploy three more in the region in 2019.
As the operation of electric buses are mostly confined to intracity, Srinivas pointed out the majority of the demand concentration is coming for 9 meter range. VECV is also mulling to enter the 7 meter e-bus range as well to take advantage of growing last mile connectivity requirements.
“With growing road infrastructure, we foresee the requirement of last mile connectivity coming in a big way. To fulfill this gap we are planning to come up with 7 meter e-buses shortly,” he informed.
Appreciating the government’s approach to subsidies e-buses in FAME II policy, he further said that such effort will help in generating more demand as currently the cost of electric buses is almost three times more expensive than its diesel counterpart. Under Rs 10,000 crore-scheme, the government will support 7,090 e-buses with an incentive of up to Rs 50 lakh each having an ex-factory price of up to Rs 2 crore between 2019-2021.
In 2018, VECV made an announcement of investing a capex of Rs 500 crore towards the new product development and capacity expansion. Elaborating more on the plan the then MD & CEO of Eicher Motors Siddhartha Lal said that the company is planning to present a complete range of electric-mobility solutions for public transportation in India.
Besides, Srinivas is also aiming to expand CNG bus portfolio as well which comprises about 7-8 per cent of company’s total bus sales. Last year, VECV sold a total of 12,400 units of buses. It has identified states like Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka for the expansion where the gas pipeline infra is picking up at a fast rate.
“I believe the transition to alternate fuel solutions will first happen from diesel to CNG, before the electric mobility takes off. CNG buses are marginally 6-7 per cent higher than the diesel ones which means users are getting cleaner solutions at a much cheaper rate, ” he noted.
Currently, the company is carrying out production of all the buses from its Rs 400 crore plant in Madhya Pradesh and targets to sell a total of 14,000 to 15,000 units by the end of 2019.