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CEO Shenu Agarwal told CNBCTV18 that Ashok Leyland is investing about 70 percent of its capital expenditure in research and development of alternate technologies.
Happening after three years, India's Auto Expo is back in New Delhi and Greater Noida with 75 launches and five global launches. Of those to watch is automaker Ashok Leyland, the second-most successful manufacturer of commercial vehicles in India, and its new sustainable releases.
The company showcased seven new vehicles — a battery electric vehicle (EV), a fuel cell EV, a hydrogen internal combustion engine vehicle, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) vehicle, an intercity CNG bus, a mini passenger bus and an ambulance.
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Of these was an electric version of their Boss truck, a new 13.5-metre CNG-powered sleeper bus. They also launched a FCEV version of their AVTR truck powered by hydrogen to generate electricity on board.
Ashok Leyland also launched a new logo marking the occasion of the company completing 75 years in the industry.
Recently-appointed Managing Director and CEO Shenu Agarwal and Chief Technology Office N. Saravanan unveiled the company's new launches and discussed Ashok Leyland's roadmap for the upcoming year.
Speaking with CNBCTV18, Agarwal said the company is focused on alternative fuel technologies as it wants to be prepared for the future. None of their launches at this year's motor show were powered by diesel.
The CEO told CNBCTV18 that Ashok Leyland is investing about 70 percent of its capital expenditure in research and development of alternate technologies.
"We want to be ahead of the curve," Agarwal said on the company's launch of its futuristic technologies.
A large part of mid-sized commercial vehicles will become alternate fuel vehicles by 2030, he predicted.
The company hopes to bring launch its CNG and LNG-powered products soon and its 12-tonne Boss EV is likely to hit the market the soonest, CTO Saravanan said.
When asked what policy clarifications the automaker needs, Agarwal said that the government has been "quite active in past couple of years" and provided industry stakeholders with "reasonable" clarifications.
He highlighted the need for high power charging infrastructure which plays a big role in the electrification of Ashok Leyland's commercial vehicles. The heavier commercial vehicles, such as the buses and trucks, use hydrogen fuel cells due to their bigger size and higher tonnage. The rollout of these autos, however, will depend on the availability of fuel, Agarwal said.
"The ecosystem needs to support it," he explained.
Looking back at the year that was, Agarwal said that the automotive industry had witnessed "good tailwind" and would peak this year or next, he predicted. Ashok Leyland was able to recover its lost market share and would be at its highest by the end of the year, he said.
"FY23 has been really, really good for us," he said. "Hopefully the last quarter will be better."