Gunning for a lion’s share of the electric transportation market in India, Jay Bharat Maruti Auto (JBM) has lined up an investment outlay of Rs 800 crore during the current Calendar Year (CY).
Out of the total amount, nearly Rs 500 crore will be spent by the BSE and National Stock Exchange (NSE)-listed firm on capacity expansion, product development and so on and Rs 300 crore towards scaling up its operations in the battery manufacturing plant at Manesar.
“The domestic electric bus industry is at an inflection point and we intend to have a major chunk of that pie. Although we are already running a manufacturing facility at Kosi (near Faridabad in Haryana) that churns out 3,000 units of buses (both Compressed Natural Gas and electric), it will not be adequate to meet your long-term targets. Hence we would be setting up another plant in Delhi, NCR (National Capital Region), which will have a similar capacity but dedicated for electric buses,” Nishant Arya, JBM Auto’s Vice Chairman, told Moneycontrol.
JBM Auto, which is also a Tier-1 auto component supplier to leading carmakers such as Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Tata Motors, etc., diversified into bus manufacturing in 2014 by allying with a European bus maker BredaMenarinibus in a technical collaboration.
Four years later, it tied up with another European automaker, Solaris, to build electric buses in the country. While the domestic bus maker didn’t share the total investments made so far, media reports indicate that it had spent Rs 500 crore in the first phase of its operations and a similar amount for its electric bus business.
When asked to shed some light on the current investment plans, Arya said: “Almost 60 percent to 70 percent of the Rs 500 crore earmarked earlier will be deployed towards capacity expansion and another 30 percent to 40 percent is for product development and technological innovation. We will also be spending some amount for infrastructure creation as the country needs fast chargers for high capacity buses.”
Arya also revealed that its battery manufacturing plant at Manesar, which has just gone on stream will be expanded, and nearly Rs 300 crore will spent on it.
“We are looking to build a mega lithium-ion battery pack manufacturing facility for buses. Except cells, we will be building the entire battery pack, including power electronics, in the facility. And the batteries will not just be for captive consumption but will also be supplied to other OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers).” He however, didn’t share the names of the OEMs the company intends to cater to.
Expanding E-Bus market
JBM Auto rolled out its maiden electric luxury coach 'Galaxy ‘at Auto Expo 2023. Estimated to be priced under Rs. 2 crore, the company claimed that the inter-city bus has a range of 1,000 km on a single charge and will be catering to private fleet operators.
"In my opinion, by FY 2026-27, the size of the new bus market would be 80,000 to 90,000 units per annum and 50 percent of them will be pure electric ones. I also see that Tier 1 and metro cities will be the first ones to convert to electric (buses), and that is where majority of the growth potential lies to start with. Then, it will percolate to the rural and semi urban cities. We aim to corner a maximum slice of that pie," Arya added.
Apart from Galaxy inter-city bus, JBM Auto also showcased its new series of e-buses, including a city bus, staff bus and school bus. While 1,000 JBM e-buses are already running in 12 states, the CV maker is looking to deploy 5,000 buses on a cumulative basis by the end of FY 2024. Furthermore, it foresees 50 percent of its total order book being contributed by e-buses from 25 percent currently.
JBM Auto, which is the flagship company of the $2.2 billion JBM Group, derives 80 percent of its business from auto component business and the remainder from the bus manufacturing division.
While the company doesn’t expect the equations to change in the medium term, it hopes to post a double digit Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in its topline over the next few years.
JBM Auto was quoting at Rs 527.70, down Rs 6.30, or 1.18 percent on the BSE at time of publishing this story.