Ashok Leyland subsidiary Switch Mobility has increased its presence in the market for electric buses with the launch of the new EiV 22, a double-decker electric bus.
Designed, developed and manufactured in India and utilising Switch’s global electric bus experience, Switch EiV 22 is equipped with the latest technology, ultra-modern design, highest safety and best-in-class comfort features, according to Switch Mobility.
The Switch EiV 22 is a significant achievement in terms of packaging, making it the world's first - semi low floor, air conditioned, electric double decker with wider door on rear overhang and a rear staircase. The double decker has a lightweight aluminium body construction, which offers higher passenger to weight ratio and a competitive cost per km, per passenger.
Powering Switch EiV 22 is a 231 kWh capacity, 2-string, liquid cooled, higher density NMC chemistry battery pack with dual gun charging system.
The Switch electric double decker can ferry nearly twice the number of seated passengers as a comparable single decker bus with just 18 per cent increase in kerb weight. The architecture of the double decker uses a 650 V system - the same platform as Switch EiV 12, launched in June 2022, which is also common with Switch e1.
With contemporary styling and feel-good interiors and exteriors, the double decker boasts of wide front and rear doors, two staircases and an emergency door complying with the latest safety standards. The AC offers effective cooling in India’s hot climatic conditions, while the optimised seating for 65 passengers is the maximum number of seats to be offered in the given footprint. Each seat has a lightweight cushion and the interiors come with car like comfort for passenger convenience. This state-of-the-art electric double decker serves as an ideal solution for urban commuting, as they occupy less road, terminal and depot floor space per seated passenger.
The EiV 22, which shares the EiV 12’s underpinnings, is also India’s first electric air-conditioned bus.
It can travel up to 250 km per charge and can be charged at a maximum of 252km. Switch Mobility has received orders for the bus, which will be used in Mumbai by BEST.
“I would like to congratulate Switch Mobility, subsidiary of Ashok Leyland, for being the one to revive the double decker and remain committed to introducing new technologies for the benefit of passengers and society, at large,” Nitin Gadkari, minister of road transport and highways, said.
“Ashok Leyland was a pioneer among Indian manufacturers when it first launched the double decker in 1967 in Mumbai and Switch is carrying forward that legacy. With our strong expertise in double deckers, both in India and UK and with over 100 Switch electric double deckers in service on UK roads, we are happy to not only bring back this icon to life and look forward to introducing newer electric products for the Indian and European markets, always keeping the customers at the forefront,” Dheeraj Hinduja, chairman - Switch Mobility, said.
“The Switch EiV 22 is the latest such innovation and builds on our expertise within the electric double-decker segment to deliver a product with class leading efficiency for the Indian market. With our Switch EiV 22 and Metrodecker buses, we are now well positioned to address the global double-decker market and support cities in meeting their net zero targets,” Andy Palmer, executive vice chairman and CEO – Switch Mobility Ltd, added.
Switch Mobility will operate 200 buses and maintain the vehicle through its subsidiary OHM Mobility.
Mahesh Babu (CEO of Switch Mobility India) stated that the buses will be operated from two depots, Kurla and Colaba, with the first units being delivered in Q4 FY2023.
Mahesh Babu stated that the supply will be started from the end of the quarter financial year, and the order will be closed by June.
He said that the BEST team would hand over two depots, one of which is Kurla and Colaba. They will be used to store the buses. They will house the buses’ chargers at these depots.
The double-decker bus can carry up to 65 passengers. The lower deck is also designed for standing passengers.
The EV 22 is powered by a Nickel Cobalt Manganese (231 kWh) battery pack with liquid cooling and dual-gun charging – the same technology as the EiV 12.
Dana supplied the powertrain and the battery pack was assembled at the company’s facility. The Chinese supply the battery cells.
Babu said that the company’s experience in manufacturing an electric double-decker bus for the UK market played a part in the design of the model.
Switch claims that the new EiV 22 is only 18 per cent lighter than the EiV22, despite its additional deck and greater passenger capacity.
The buses will have front and rear doors, as well as a pair of staircases to reach the top deck. This allows for easy ingress and exit.
Switch stated that the EiV 22 new model will be eligible for FAME II benefits. The buses will be manufactured at the plant in Ennore (Tamil Nadu).
The buses will be made at the plant as powered chassis units, with the body of the Mumbai buses being produced by a partner.