innacle Mobility Solutions, a unit of Pune-based Pinnacle Industries, would invest Rs 2,000 crore to make electric buses and e-mini trucks to cater to the booming last-mile mobility space. Pinnacle Mobility has entered into a 74:26 partnership with one of Europe’ s largest family-owned enterprises – VDL Groep – to cater to this growing demand.
The company will set up a 5,000-unit electric bus manufacturing facility in Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh, and a 15,000-unit plant for e-mini vehicles in the 1-2 tonne space in Pune. The company will be hiring about 1,000 people across two locations. It will make a range of 9-12 metre electric buses and 1-2 tonne mini-trucks over the next two years. Sudhir Mehta, Chairman of Pinnacle Mobility Solutions, told ET that electric vehicles will be among India’s single biggest industries by size. Pinnacle started working on a grounds up solution with a unique lego concept that can be adapted to smaller set ups that don’t need large investments.
The complete product range is developed in India with several patents already obtained and in process, Mehta said. Pinnacle intends to use its JV expertise in building smart lean factories and expand into multiple small bases across the country. It has created a modular vehicle platform based on the lego concept to deliver a better total cost of ownership, claims Mehta. “Our intention is to participate in democratizing EVs in the country. One has to develop products that are innovative and affordable, without subsidy,” Mehta said. “One doesn’t need large factories to cater to the market; our lego set-up can be adapted in smaller settings. We will be coming out with a range of products and may partner local STUs to build scale at low cost.” The company has also been selected to avail benefits under the government’s production linked incentive or PLI scheme. The push toward EVs is gaining momentum. The government’s think tank, Niti Aayog, expects 40% of the buses running in the country to be EVs by the end of this decade. There is a tender of 5,000 electric buses by CESL, which will have to be delivered in the next few years and Pinnacle will be participating in that exercise.
Already under FAME II – 12,000 buses are eligible for incentives. Alternatively, the last-mile delivery industry, too, is expected to grow at 9% annually, backed by robust traction in the Indian online grocery market expanding at a CAGR of 57%. For the first 18 months, Mehta said the focus will be on the Indian market. However, over the next three to four years, the company intends to expand into Sri Lanka, the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa to build scale and cater to growing needs globally. It already has a long-standing partnership with VDL on the engineering front for the last six years. Since then, the JV has done engineering work for the leading automotive companies globally. The architecture developed by Pinnacle is packaged and protected to bring in hydrogen fuel in the future. Its inter-city hydrogen fuel cell bus will be ready in six months, Mehta said. Pinnacle Industries expects to gain from the synergies at some of its group companies focused on commercial vehicle seating, an interior systems and specialty vehicles maker for manufacturing bus seating systems and interiors, a manufacturer and exporter of sheet metal structures and products for manufacturing bus structural parts.