US automotive supplier Dana is partnering with Switch Mobility (formerly Optare), the UK subsidiary of India’s Ashok Leyland. Specifically, Dana is to supply electric drive components for Switch Mobility’s range of buses and commercial vehicles.
The contracted electric drive components that Dana will supply to the UK in the future include e-axles, transmissions, motors, inverters, software and controls, and electronic cooling systems. At the same time, the supplier based in Maumee, USA, is making a strategic investment in Switch Mobility. The partners have agreed not to disclose the amount. Switch Mobility states this combines the electric commercial vehicle activities of Ashok Leyland in India and Optare in the UK “to become a global leader in zero-carbon buses and light commercial vehicles.”
According to James Kamsickas, chairman and CEO of Dana, light commercial vehicles and buses continue to offer significant opportunities as they lead the commercial vehicle segment’s transition to fully electrified platforms. “We are pleased to extend our relationships with our long-standing customers, Ashok Leyland and Switch Mobility, as they continue to grow and implement their next-generation, road-proven technology that will enable a direct, positive impact on delivering sustainable urban e mobility.”
Dheeraj Hinduja, Chairman of Switch Mobility, added: “In Switch Mobility, we have an ambitious plan to be leading the zero-carbon mobility globally through positioning innovative products and solutions with best-in-class TCO.” He said he was confident that through the synergies of the new partnership, they would significantly improve their product offering and expand their market presence in many new regions.
Optare was renamed Switch Mobility in late 2020 to highlight its focus on electric and sustainable transport. Commenting on the rebranding at the time, Ashok Leyland Chairman Dheeraj Hinduja said: “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.” Since the current announcement states that Switch is also coordinating the electric commercial vehicle division for Ashok Leyland, it seems that this advised restructuring is now indeed underway or has already been realised.
Ashok Leyland is an Indian commercial vehicle manufacturer based in Chennai in eastern India and belonging to the Hinduja Group. In 2010, Leyland acquired a 26 per cent stake in UK bus manufacturer Optare, which moved to a newly built plant in Sherburn-in-Elmet shortly after. In 2017, Ashok Leyland bought out a further 72 per cent of Optare, which, together with the previous stake, amounted to an almost complete takeover.
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