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Leeds-based electric commercial vehicle company Switch Mobility has confirmed plans for a huge investment of £300 million in the UK and India to develop its range of electric buses and light commercial vehicles.
The company aims to be the market leader in zero-carbon public and commercial transport and plans to open a new engineering centre in Warwick in June 2022.
It said this huge investment would provide the UK with £150m and is expected to create more than 4,000 skilled jobs, about half of which will be in the UK.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the news of Switch Mobility during a trade visit to India. His visit coincided with the launch of Switch’s first 12-metre electric bus in India, part of an order bank of nearly 600 electric buses in the country.
Johnson said: “We are committed to rolling out next generation clean green buses in the UK, and Switch Mobility is at the forefront of that revolution.
“This announcement will bring high quality jobs and skills to both the UK and India, and is testament to our partnership in the industries of the future.”
Dheeraj Hinduja, chairman of Switch Mobility, added: “Since forming Switch Mobility over a year ago, we have seen the pace of change to electric vehicles for public and commercial transportation increase significantly.
“With a strong order bank of nearly 600 buses and ambitious investment plans already in place, we believe we are well placed to capitalise on this growth.”
The centre, which will provide more than 130 skilled jobs, will be led by Chief Technology Officer Roger Blakey and will focus on the development of Switch’s next-generation vehicles.
The venue, expected to open in June 2022, will work with Switch’s existing R&D offices in Chennai, Leeds and Valladolid and employ an additional 200 engineers.
Switch Mobility is comprised of electric vehicle elements from Ashok Leyland, the world’s fourth-largest bus OEM, and British bus manufacturer Optare.
In 2014, Switch brought the first British-made pure electric bus to the streets of London and has since put 300 electric vehicles on the road. Its vehicles are currently sold in more than 46 countries.
Meanwhile, in other news;
According to new research from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the choice of electric vehicle models has increased 15 times since 2011, and the average battery range has more than tripled compared to a decade ago.
At the launch of the UK’s first production battery-electric vehicle, the Nissan LEAF, in 2011, there were only nine plug-in car models available in the UK, less than one in 1,000 total registrations.
Today, there are more than 140 plug in models to choose from, which equates to about one in five new cars sold this year. Another 50 models are expected to hit the market by the end of 2022.
SMMT showcased these extensive options at its annual test day drive event on Tuesday, when 33 manufacturers showcased more than 100 models at the Millbrook proving ground, including 42 plug-in electric models on the track.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The ever-increasing number of electric vehicle models launched by manufacturers since 2011 shows just how far Britain has come, with industry investment stimulating innovation at an ever-faster rate. With almost 200 electrified models expected to be available by the end of the year, manufacturers are turning ambitions for zero and ultra-low emission mobility into a reality, while motorists’ demand for these vehicles increases month by month.
“To turn this nascent demand into a mass market, however, motorists need choice, affordability and the confidence to charge. The UK has an ambitious timescale to deliver net zero and road transport must shoulder the biggest burden delivering that goal. The industry is up for the challenge but we need all stakeholders, including government, charge point providers and energy companies, to match manufacturers’ commitment by providing the competitive incentives and infrastructure that assures a zero-emission future.”
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