Ashok Leyland renames British arm Optare as it bets big on electrification

Commercial vehicle major Ashok Leyland on Friday said it has renamed its UK subsidiary Optare Group as Switch Mobility Ltd, as part of a drive towards electrification and new mobility services.

File photo used for representational purpose. (Bloomberg)
File photo used for representational purpose.

Optare is a leading manufacturer of urban buses with an assembly facility in Sherburn, near Leeds, Yorkshire.The company employs more than 300 people.

"Optare is adopting a new identity and logo as Switch, which signals our strategic ambitions in electric and green mobility. Towards this, the company is examining various options to bring its entire electric vehicle (EV) initiatives under Switch Mobility Ltd," Ashok Leyland Chairman Dheeraj Hinduja said in a statement.

This strategy reflects the clear growth opportunities in the global light commercial vehicle and bus EV market, which is projected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of more than 25 per cent and to be worth in the region of USD 50 billion by 2030, he added.

"To capture part of that market, we are considering EV initiatives through Switch that could include financial participation and strategic tie-ups," Hinduja noted.

Switch will build on the success of Optare in the UK, where it is a leading player in electric buses with more than 150 of them currently operating successfully in its home market, he added.

Following the successful delivery of 30 electric double-decker buses to Metroline in London, the company is currently fulfilling orders for operators, including Tower Transit, London and First York.

This will create a foundation for the expansion of Switch's operations in Europe and growth in India and other parts of the world, Hinduja said.

Ashok Leyland Managing Director and CEO Vipin Sondhi said Switch will be positioned to become the potential global arm of Ashok Leyland focussed on electric vehicles and green mobility solutions.

"This proposed step will enable Ashok Leyland to focus on the development of new electric vehicle platforms through Switch, including next-generation buses, e-LCVs and swiftly scale up the EV business," he added.

Optare plc Chairman Andrew C Palmer said the reorganisation of the group allows it to continue to serve the current customers, whilst positioning Switch Mobility Ltd at the forefront of the commercial EV space, which should benefit the entire organisation.

First Published Date: 27 Nov 2020, 18:32 PM IST
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