Ashok Leyland plans to introduce locally made, Optare buses in India including electric and hybrid models.
The Indian firm owns a majority stake in Optare whose electric and hybrid buses have been successful in the UK.
Vinod Dasari, Ashok Leyland’s managing director, said: “The UK government with its green fund scheme really supported Optare and that has allowed Optare to innovate more and come up with newer technologies. Today it is one of the world leaders in terms of electric and hybrid buses. And learning from that technology, we would like to bring that technology to India and manufacture those buses [locally].”
He added: “We will do that [manufacturing] next year. We will first showcase them at the Bus Expo on 22 January in Delhi.”
The company is considering its Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu and Alwar, Rajasthan, plants to make the buses.
Dasari added, “We will probably have to [make] investments in electric and battery handling capabilities. The bus itself will not require substantial investments other than the tooling to make the structure.”
The Solo and Versa models be the first Indian made models.
“We have a diesel variant also. The hybrid version has a smaller diesel engine and it’s connected to electric drive. The diesel engine buses will be made by us. The electric motor and the batteries will be imported from UK, US or from China,” Dasari said.