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Chinese electric bus major BYD to 'Make in India' for home market, exports

T E Narasimhan/Chennai 13 Feb 18 | 05:23 PM

Chinese electric bus maker BYD will soon start a manufacturing in India for the domestic market, as well as for exports to neighbouring countries. Hyderabad-based Gold Stone Group, which sells BYD buses in the country, is setting up a greenfield facility in the country at a cost of about Rs 2 billion.Goldstone Infratech Managing Director N K Rawal said the new facility, coming up this year and to be spread across 100 acres at Bidar in Karnataka, will have an initial capacity of around 1,000 units a year. Localisation of the product, around 25 per cent initially, will be increased to 50 per cent by 2020.

"We will also start manufacturing batteries in India," said Rawal. His company is also talking to various state transport undertakings (STUs) and other players to set up charging stations. He expects 10 cities -- Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jammu, Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore and Bengaluru -- to bid for 390 electric buses in the coming months.

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A major challenge for STUs is the upfront cost, even as they realise that the total cost of ownership will be low. While the cost of buses is coming down and the government is also offering new schemes to induct electric buses, the company says it is open to a public-private-partnership model, under which it would acquire and manage vehicles, while the STUs could operate and share the revenue.

Rawal said the company would also start exporting buses under the BYD brand to neighbouring countries, starting this year. On whether Goldstone would also look at other segments, Rawal said: "We are exploring, nothing has been finalised yet."

Goldstone Infratech has signed a technical collaboration agreement with China's BYD, one of the largest electrical vehicle manufacturers in the world. Apart from buses, BYD also manufactures electric cars and trucks.

Goldstone is the first company to have bagged orders for 31 electric buses and ensured 100 per cent delivery to two STUs -- Himachal Roadways and Transport Corporation (HRTC) and Brihan Mumbai Electricity Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST). The company also completed trials of its electrical buses in Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Rajkot and Chandigarh.

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