People ride on the roof of a commuter bus in Patna, Bihar, India. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Volvo, Eicher To Push Electric Solutions For Public Transport

VE Commercial Vehicles, a joint venture of Volvo Group and Eicher Motors, is developing a slew of products, including a complete range of electric vehicles for public transportation, Eicher Motors Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Siddhartha Lal said.

The company, which has earmarked a capital expenditure of Rs 500 crore for the ongoing financial year towards new product development and capacity expansion, is working to drive in an affordable range of air-conditioned buses to cater to public transit.

In a message to shareholders in the company’s annual report for 2017-18, Lal said the company is also developing light- and heavy-duty buses for Middle East and African markets.

“We plan to have a complete range of electric mobility solutions for public transportation, offering world-class quality and comfort. We are also developing an affordable air-conditioned range of buses aimed at bringing superior comfort to public transit,” Lal said.

The company has commenced operations of its Skyline Pro Electric buses in Kolkata and thus joined the league of zero-emission vehicle manufacturers, he said.

VE Commercial Vehicles, which sold a record 65,932 vehicles in 2017-18, increase of 12.5 percent over 2016-17 volumes, is also focusing on segments like construction, mining and e-commerce to drive future growth, he said.

On capex for 2018-19, he said, “We plan to invest Rs 500 crore in VE Commercial Vehicles towards new product development and capacity enhancement.” On domestic business, Lal said the company continues to retain the 88 percent market share in the high performance trucks segment (400+ horsepower) and is focused on targeting mining segments, besides quarrying, road construction and irrigation to drive growth.

He said the company is preparing to introduce the BS-VI range of trucks and buses in the domestic market much before the April 1, 2020 deadline.

Bullish on Middle East and Africa, Lal said the company is developing light- and heavy-duty buses for these markets.

VE Commercial Vehicles has entered the Asean market with sales beginning in the first quarter of the current financial year. It has also begun setting up assembly operations in Bangladesh, after establishing the completely knocked-down operations in Kenya and Nigeria.

Also read: Eicher Motors’ Stock Jumps On Plan To Increase Royal Enfield Capacity