Leading truck and busmaker Ashok Leyland has said it is open to partnerships to develop products in the alternative fuel segments. This as the Hinduja flagship has pledged to offer alternative fuel platforms in its product categories in the next two years.

While diesel is likely to be the major fuel for some more years, some specific segments in the commercial vehicle market may demand trucks and buses, powered by batteries, LNG, CNG, hydrogen ICE and fuel cells in the near future. However, electric buses and small electric trucks will be made and sold by its EV arm Switch Mobility.

Open for partnership

“For example, customers want higher tonnage electric trucks in port activities. We want to make sure that alternative fuel variants are offered across product categories in the next 24 months,” Dheeraj Hinduja, Executive Chairman of Ashok Leyland, told businessline.

He said while the company had the skill set to develop products powered by alternative fuel engines, CNG and electric in particular, it will be open to working with partners as long as they bring expertise to develop and offer products at the right cost structure in these segments.

Ashok Leyland has already tied with some partners including Toyota to develop platforms for hydrogen and fuel cell segments. Hinduja said a major portion of its proposed ₹2,000 crore investment under the PLI scheme would be made in productionising electric and hydrogen technologies over the next few years.

Gaining market

Meanwhile, Ashok Leyland continued to gain market share in the medium and heavy commercial vehicle market. Its market share stood at 32.6 per cent in Q3 of this fiscal, a gain of 7.3 per cent over the same period last year. “This is the fourth consecutive quarter of 30 per cent plus market share for Ashok Leyland, supported by product performance and network expansion,” he added.

However, the company is hoping to regain its dominant position in the bus segment with the realignment of its products in the school bus category, a weak segment earlier for the company. It also hopes to accelerate its small truck sales with the proposed launch of electric Bada Dost, followed by electric Dost.

Volume peaks

Shenu Aggarwal, who recently took over as the MD & CEO, said the company was hopeful of maintaining about one-third of the medium and heavy-duty truck market share supported by an expanded product portfolio and strengthening its presence in some of the regions.

The company management said the M&HCV industry is unlikely to hit the previous peak (FY19) of more than 4 lakh units in this fiscal although growth has been strong so far. But the industry could reach those volume levels during the next fiscal if the current momentum is continued.