Chinese electric bus manufacturer BYD plans to open a second factory in India with its local joint venture with Olectra. The plant could be built in northern India, although the exact location is not yet known.
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The joint venture between BYD and the Indian Olectra group – Olectra-BYD – plans to open the factory by 2021. Originally, the second plant was planned in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, but the company was unable to reach an agreement with local government. Now the plant is to be built further north.
The joint venture already operates a production facility in the state of Telangana, where it says it has produced more than 100 electric buses for the Indian market – such as the nine-metre-long eBuzz K7 or the eBuzz K9 (12 metres). Olectra-BYD has been contracted to deliver 500 electric buses between April 2019 and March 2020, with the company aiming to sell 2,000 by March 2021.
A year ago, Olectra-BYD (Olectra was previously called Goldstone) announced their plans to produce 5,000 electric buses per year in India. Olectra-BYD has already supplied 108 electric buses to the states of Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, and Telangana. These buses have a range of up to 300 kilometres on a single charge and are being used for inter-city transport.
The company is optimistic about future business with a rapidly increasing number of orders and tenders from all over India. Demand is being partly being driven by the Ministry of Industry, who will support the purchase of 5,000 electric buses in 40 cities with the equivalent of 360 million euros.
In addition to Olectra-BYD, Tata Motors is also building electric buses in India. The company’s CEO and Managing Director, Guenter Butschek recently reasoned, that it would only be a question of time before India, or better its regulation concerning electrification will get to the 5-wheelers as it is already moving fast-er from two- into three- and lastly four-wheelers.
In its current form, India’s FAME II scheme for the faster adoption of hybrid and electric vehicles includes support for the purchase of one million electric two-wheelers, 500,000 electric tricycles, 55,000 electric four-wheelers and 7,000 electric buses. While the programme allows private applicants for two-wheeled vehicles, the other targets are primarily aimed at electrifying public transport and commercial services.
Update 24.01.2020: Olectra-BYD has temporarily put its plan of building a new electric bus plant in northern India on hold. “As of now our existing and upcoming facilities in Hyderabad will be sufficient to cater at least this year’s demand. So, our plan for the greenfield project has been put on hold temporarily,” Executive Director N Nagasatyam said.
Additional reporting by Nora Manthey, Chris Randall.
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