|Ashok Leyland Limited has begun constructing its greenfield bus manufacturing plant in Andhra Pradesh.|
The two other bus plants of Ashok Leyland, the flagship company of the Hinduja Group, are located at Trichy in Tamil Nadu and Alwar in Rajasthan.
The new plant is expected to further augment capacity and play a bigger role in strengthening its electric vehicle-manufacturing capability.
The ground-breaking ceremony, performed in the presence of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu, marked the start of the project at Model Industrial Park, Mallavalli village, in Krishna district, about 45 km from the upcoming capital city of Amaravati.
Vinod K Dasari, MD & CEO, Ashok Leyland, said: “This facility will help us be ahead of the curve by ensuring our readiness towards implementation of the bus body code and to meet the rising demand for ready-to-use, fully-built trucks. We will also produce electric vehicles at this plant.”
Assuring necessary support for the setting up of the plant, the Chief Minister hoped it would play a crucial role in further strengthening the State as a next major hub for the automotive sector.
Expecting to see more than Rs. 25,000 crore investment by about 6-7 companies in the automotive sector, Naidu said: “The sector will boost the prospects of local youth and also create a number of ancillary industries and attract other companies to the State.”
This region is seen as the next upcoming manufacturing hub in Krishna district.
The Ashok Leyland plant will be spread over 75 acres, with a further capacity to add another 75 acres to the plant site to pave way for expansion.
“The plant, which is likely to a see an initial investment of Rs. 170 crore, may entail another investment of about Rs. 170-200 crore at a later phase,” the MD explained.
Apart from making the entire range of buses of Ashok Leyland, the facility will include an electric vehicle development centre comprising a futuristic conveyor line, pilot assembly line and prototype development, Dasari explained.
The company expects to make it a green facility with rooftop solar panels, LED lighting, battery-operated vehicles for in-plant movement, positive water balance and zero discharge.
“In a short time we have designed various elements of the project, and expect to roll out vehicles within six months of having proper road access to move heavy equipment. This will also have capability to double capacity at the same location,” he said.
“We are looking at huge unfolding opportunity for EVs in the country. Our first batch of EV buses will be deployed in Ahmedabad where we have bagged the contract for 40 EV buses,” said Dasari.