Pinnacle Industries, one of 20 companies selected by the government to benefit from the Production Incentive Scheme (PLI), will launch its product by June offering stainless steel electric buses, an industry first.
The buses that have been developed in partnership with the Dutch VDL group will be one of two products offered by the joint venture. The other product will be a 1.5-2 ton mini truck for last mile, intra-city use which will debut by September. All of the company’s products will be marketed under the EKA brand.
Although Pune-based Pinnacle has yet to decide on the material to be used to manufacture the mini truck as it could also be made from composites, the company is moving ahead with stainless steel for the coaches.
Sudhir Mehta, President of Pinnacle Industries, said, “The bus is ready and has gone for ARAI certification. We hope it will soon be certified. We are the first in the country to offer a stainless steel bus. The advantage is that the service life of the bus is 15-20 years compared to other buses which start to age after only 5 years.
While the European market manufactures stainless steel buses, the Indian market and other global markets are dominated by carbon steel. Stainless steel is less preferred due to high costs.
“Although stainless steel does not rust, it is more expensive than mild steel. However, it is more durable and it is also recyclable. Our bus will be 700 kg lighter than other electric buses and thus provide 15 to 20 kilometers more than the same capacity battery of competition buses,” Mehta added.
Two battery-electric buses have been developed by the company – 9-meter and 12-meter. Designed using a unibody body, Mehta says the body of the vehicle can be modified as needed due to the use of the “lego concept” in the body design.
Mehta claims to have spent ₹150 crore on product development and engineering. But for market expansion, for example for setting up factories, Pinnacle Industries would need ₹2,000 crore in the next five years. The company is studying the establishment of factories in Maharashtra for the mini truck and in Madhya Pradesh for the electric bus.
“We will fundraise in the future. Factories will need financing. In phases, we will collect the funds. We are starting the fundraising process and we will find out soon,” Mehta added.
March 18, 2022