With the world moving towards greener technology, India too has not shied away from embracing this shift. With more passenger car makers moving gradually in that direction, the commercial vehicle market is also picking up pace in that direction. Companies like Tata Motors, Mahindra and Ashok Leyland are already on the lookout for electrified technology to power their vehicles of the future and a plan has been chalked out for their arrival in India. However, Daimler Buses India, have given that route a miss. With a clear vision of what the company seeks to accomplish in the country, Daimler Buses is keen to diversify its portfolio in India and also update it so as to live up to customer needs. It had a glorious 2017, with a growth of 80% compared to sales in 2016. Daimler Buses has already showcased the longest bus in the country currently, which stands at 15 metres. What’s more, it is accompanied by a host of features including an automatic transmission.
According to Thomas Fricke, Managing Director, Daimler Buses India, the company already has electric buses running in other markets, and it may consider bringing them to India, but for the time being, the company will concentrate of the expansion of the business with the diesel powertrain.
However, introducing electric buses in India will entail a new set of investment and inventory for the plant, which, needless to say, is very cost-extensive. Unfortunately, India at the moment suffers from a dearth of infrastructure to support electric vehicles, though by the end of the decade, a growth in the sector is being anticipated. Bringing in electric buses also implies investment in skilled labour, which will ensure that the service of these buses as well as scrapping of the batteries is dealt with effectively. Fricke mentioned that currently, the company is gearing up for the BS VI emission norms which will kickstart in April 2020.
The Chennai plant of Daimler has been churning out 6 tonne, 9 tonne, 15 tonne and even 24 tonne vehicles which have been categorized into full bodied buses and chassis. The company has no plans of launching any more new products till the BS VI emission norms kick in in 2020. However, it is going to upgrade its system to meet the demand of the country.