Switch Mobility has announced the construction of a production facility for electric vehicles in the Spanish province of Valladolid. The British subsidiary of the Indian commercial vehicle manufacturer Ashok Leyland plans to invest around 100 million euros in its first site in continental Europe over the next ten years. Construction is scheduled to start on 27 January.
The company is targeting the fourth quarter of 2022 for production of the first vehicles. According to Switch CEO Andrew Palmer, the company expects the new production facility to provide “decisive access to the European market”. In addition to manufacturing electric vehicles for the European market, the site will initially focus on research and development for the next generation of electric buses and light commercial vehicles. Markets further afield, including South America, will also be supplied from there.
Switch (formerly Optare) says the new facility will create up to 2,000 jobs, and indirectly is expected to create as many as about 5,000 jobs.
The production facility will reportedly run entirely on renewable energy and will also be equipped with an energy monitoring and management system. For the construction, the company wants to source materials from suppliers with “credible net-zero policies and sustainable commitments”. The transport of materials will also be implemented using electric vehicles where possible, it says.
During the planning phase, Switch worked closely with the Spanish national and regional governments and local authorities. A corresponding memorandum of understanding was signed in October.
As reported, the US automotive supplier Dana has been Switch Mobility’s preferred supplier since last October. The two companies, which have worked together in the past, contractually stipulated that Dana will supply e-components such as e-axles, transmissions, motors, inverters, software and controls as well as electronic cooling systems to the UK. At the same time, the US company has made a strategic investment in Switch Mobility. The partners have agreed not to disclose the amount.
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, signalling our strategic ambitions in electric and green mobility.
Ashok Leyland is an Indian commercial vehicle manufacturer, part of the Hinduja Group, based in Chennai, eastern India. 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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