The world is embracing greener technology and India too is heading that way. As passenger car makers are slowly moving in that direction, the commercial vehicle market is not far behind. Companies like Tata Motors, Mahindra and Ashok Leyland are already looking at electrified technology to power their vehicles of the future and there's a plan chalked out for their arrival into India. Daimler Buses India, however, is not going to take that root. The decision comes from a clear vision as to what the company wants to achieve in the country. Having had a great 2017, which saw a growth of 80 per cent compared to sales in 2016, the company is looking to diversify its portfolio in India as also update it as per customer needs. Daimler Buses has already showcased the longest bus in the country currently, which stands at 15 metres and comes with a host of features including an automatic transmission, but is the company ready to bring electric buses to India.
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Thomas Fricke, Managing Director, Daimler Buses India said, "It's not that we don't have electric buses in our portfolio. Daimler has always been at the helm of technological advancement in any field and electric powertrains is of course one of them. We already have electric buses running in other markets and can always bring them to India if need be, but for the time being, we don't see a strong growth in the electric bus business here and so we will concentrate on expanding the business with the diesel powertrain"
It's easier said than done really. Bringing in Electric buses to India will involve a new set of investment and also inventory for the plant which is very cost intensive. Sadly, India, as of now, does not have the infrastructure to support electric vehicles and we hope see a growth in this sector by the end of the next decade. Daimler, already has the Citaro E-Cell operating in the European markets and the zero emission bus have just started to get things rolling for Daimler in March this year.
Bringing in electric buses will also involve investing in skilled labour, to make sure that the service of these buses is dealt with in a proper manner as also scrapping of the batteries. Fricke said, "For the time being we are getting ready for the BS VI emission norms which will kick start in April 2020 and this also involves a lot of investment which is why all our energies are now diverted to make an our fleet BS VI ready."
Daimler's Chennai plant has been churning out 6 tonne, 9 tonne, 15 tonne and even 24 tonne vehicles which have been divided into full bodied buses and chassis. The company is not looking to launch any more new products till the BS VI emission norms kick in in 2020 but are looking to upgrade its system to cater to the demand of the country.