Optare parent Ashok Leyland has renamed Optare Group Ltd to Switch Mobility Ltd – under a yet to be revealed logo and ‘Switch’ brand – that will be positioned to become the “potential global arm of Ashok Leyland focused on electric vehicles and green mobility solutions.”

The change is initially low key and the brand’s logo is yet to be revealed, however the formal change comes into effect today (1 December), with all invoices and other legal documents adopting the new name.

Optare is the majority-owned UK subsidiary, of Ashok Leyland Ltd, India’s second-largest commercial vehicle manufacturer and flagship company of the Hinduja Group.

“Switch will be positioned to become the potential global arm of Ashok Leyland focused on electric vehicles and green mobility solutions”

Unveiling the new name Ashok Leyland Chairman Dheeraj Hinduja, said: “Optare is adopting a new identity and logo as ‘Switch’, which signals our strategic ambitions in Electric and Green Mobility.

“Towards this, Ashok Leyland is examining various options to bring the entire EV initiatives of Ashok Leyland under Switch Mobility Ltd. 

“This strategy reflects the clear growth opportunities in the global LCV and bus electric vehicle (EV) market, which is projected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of more than 25% and to be worth in the region of $50bn by 2030.

“To capture part of that market, we are considering EV initiatives through Switch that could include financial participation and strategic tie-ups.”

Switch “will build on the success of Optare in the UK, where it is a leading player in electric buses” with more than 150 of them currently operating successfully in its home market, says the North Yorkshire-based manufacturer.

Optare, the forerunner of Switch, was recently named OEM of the Year (Bus/Commercial Vehicle) at the prestigious 2020 EVIEs Awards.

Following the successful delivery of 30 electric double-decker buses to Metroline in London, the company is currently fulfilling orders for operators including Tower Transit, London and First York.

This will create a foundation for the expansion of Switch’s operations in Europe and growth in India and other parts of the world.

“This strategy reflects the clear growth opportunities in the global LCV and bus EV market. To capture part of that market, we are considering EV initiatives through Switch that could include financial participation and strategic tie-ups.”

Dheeraj Hinduja, Chairman, Ashok Leyland

Vipin Sondhi, MD & CEO, Ashok Leyland, added: “Ashok Leyland is a pioneer in delivering innovative commercial vehicles and mobility solutions. 

“With our proposed new structure, Switch will be positioned to become the potential global arm of Ashok Leyland focused on Electric Vehicles and Green Mobility Solutions. 

“This proposed step will enable Ashok Leyland to focus on the development of new electric vehicle platforms through Switch including next-generation buses, personal on-demand (POD) electric LCVs and swiftly scale up the EV business.”

Dr. Andrew C. Palmer, Chairman of Optare plc, says: “Optare plc has a well-deserved reputation for class-leading products and customer service.

“The reorganisation of the Optare group both allows us to continue to serve customers with the portfolio of products we have today, whilst positioning Switch Mobility Ltd at the forefront of the commercial EV space, which should benefit the entire organisation.”

In a letter to customers Optare Commercial Director Robert Drewery says: “This announcement and change of name to Switch Mobility is a prelude to an exciting zero-emission future for the Group.

“It signals a new level of focus and investment in our business to create a global player in the commercial EV space.

“Our new name is the first formal step in a journey that is already underway and will gain momentum over the next few months. Early in 2021, we will be sharing more details of our plans and our offer with you as Switch Mobility moves forward.”