Optare becomes Switch Mobility as parent company Ashok Leyland unveils global electric vehicle plans

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The majority-owners of the Optare Group, Ashok Leyland, have announced that the Leeds-based company is to be renamed

Ashok Leyland Ltd, India’s second largest commercial vehicle manufacturer and a member of the Hinduja Group, has announced that Optare Group Ltd (Optare), its majority-owned UK subsidiary, has been renamed Switch Mobility Ltd (Switch) as part of its drive towards electrification and new mobility services.

Dheeraj Hinduja, Chairman of Ashok Leyland Limited, said: “Optare is adopting a new identity and logo as ‘Switch,’ which signals our strategic ambitions in electric and green mobility. Towards this, Ashok Leyland is examining various options to bring the entire EV initiatives of Ashok Leyland under Switch Mobility Ltd.

“This strategy reflects the clear growth opportunities in the global LCV & Bus EV market, which is projected to grow at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate of more than 25% and to be worth in the region of $50 billion by 2030.

To capture part of that market, we are considering EV initiatives through Switch that could include financial participation and strategic tie-ups.

”Switch will build on the success of Optare in the UK, where it produces electric buses, with more than 150 of them currently operating successfully in its home market. Optare, the forerunner of Switch, was recently named OEM of the Year (Bus/Commercial Vehicle) at the prestigious 2020 EVIEs Awards.

“Following the successful delivery of 30 electric double-decker buses to Metroline in London, the company is currently fulfilling orders for operators including Tower Transit, London and First York. This will create a foundation for the expansion of Switch’s operations in Europe and growth in India and other parts of the world.

Vipin Sondhi, Managing Director & CEO, Ashok Leyland Ltd, added: “Ashok Leyland is a pioneer in delivering innovative commercial vehicles and mobility solutions. With our proposed new structure, Switch will be positioned to become the potential global arm of Ashok Leyland focused on electric vehicles and green mobility solutions.

“This proposed step will enable Ashok Leyland to focus on the development of new electric vehicle platforms through Switch including next-generation buses, PODs and E-LCVs and swiftly scale up the EV business.

”Dr. Andrew C. Palmer, Chairman of Optare plc, commented: “Optare has a well-deserved reputation for class-leading products and customer service. The reorganisation of the Optare Group both allows us to continue to serve customers with the portfolio of products we have today, whilst positioning Switch Mobility Ltd at the forefront of the commercial EV space, which should benefit the entire organisation.”

 

The Optare MetroDecker EV won OEM of the Year (Bus/Commercial Vehicle) at the 2020 Electric Vehicle Innovation & Excellence (EVIE) Awards in November. RICHARD SHARMAN