The electric vehicle adoption in the light commercial vehicle segment and buses will be around 20-30% and 30%, respectively, according to a top official at Hinduja Group-backed Switch Mobility, the electric vehicle arm of Ashok Leyland. Mahesh Babu, CEO, Switch Mobility in an interaction tells Fortune India that buses and light commercial vehicle segment between 2 and 3.5 tonnes will be the two important segments that will undergo electrification.

"There are two important segments which will adapt. We are looking at 30% adoption in the e-bus segment and about 20% in the light commercial vehicle segment between 2 to 3.5 tonnes. That’s a very significant number and most of this will happen depending upon the current FAME-II scheme (faster adoption and manufacturing of electric vehicles in India) PM e-bus SEWA scheme and any other scheme. So the government support, close working amongst the industry and investment by the industry is critical to continue on this," says Babu.

Last month, the cabinet approved the PM e-bus SEWA scheme at an outlay of ₹57,613 crore. Terming the scheme "progressive", Babu says the scheme discusses concerns regarding payment security mechanisms. "There is a viability gap in funding by the central government over a period of ten years, and there is a discussion of how they will implement the payment security mechanism in the tender and how we will progress forward," says Babu.

Switch Mobility claims a market share of 20% in the electric light commercial vehicle segment, as it aims to be among the top 3 in the EV CV segment. Earlier this month the company launched the intelligent electric vehicle (IeV series) in the 2.5- 3 tonne category to bolster its presence in the light electric commercial vehicle segment. The IeV series is enabled with a 330 V high voltage EV Architecture for the 3.5-tonne commercial vehicle category. The series has a battery pack ranging from 25.6 to 32.2 kWh (kilowatt hour) with an efficient range of up to 300 kilometres of operation in a day. The company has initially set a target to manufacture and sell 3,000 units of IeV, says Babu, adding that this number could go much higher. It has invested ₹100 crore in product development.

"IeV series is an innovative product with the technology focus on customers' comfort with digitised connectivity between the vehicle and the total cost of ownership, which will make economics better. For example, the IeV series can save up to ₹17,000 per month for a range of 150 kilometers per day. Looking at the higher EMI due to the initial acquisition cost, high fuel costs such as electricity, and maintenance costs, the monthly outflow for the customer will be lower than that of diesel for 150 kms per day. So it’s the economics, which will make customers adapt to it (IeV series)," says Babu.

The IeV series is equipped with first-in-category electronic power steering, touch-based shifters, and direct drive without the requirement of the clutch. “IeV series will be supported by a cloud-based Switch ion Software. We’ll be able to connect the vehicle ecosystem, the driver, the fleet manager, everything through the Switch-ion Software,” says Babu. Babu claims that the software will ensure data privacy and will monitor the vehicle, and its efficient functioning, particularly in terms of safety of battery in charging and usage. In order to make the IeV series more efficient, the company is doing research and development across the digital twinning of the vehicle.

Meanwhile, just like its peers, the company has also introduced hydrogen trucks and the 9-meter, hydrogen fuel-cell electric bus, which has been developed in partnership with NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation). The electric bus will be operational soon, as per the company.

Notably, Ashok Leyland, the country's second-largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, is reportedly planning to invest ₹1,200 crore in Switch Mobility amidst a delay in external fund-raising.

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