All-electric bus from Optare Ashok Leyland bags Britain's most celebrated automotive award

Monday 03 December 2012, 10:16 AM by

Optareplc, which is a subsidiary of Ashok Leyland, has bagged the most celebrated annual award for innovation in the UK automotive industry. The all-electric charging bus, Optare's Versa EV, emerged as the winner, amid tough competition from many leading companies in automobile design and technology sector from across Britain. Among many other companies, the Versa EV beat Jaguar Land Rover to win the prestigious Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Award for Automotive Innovation 2012.

The award was received jointly by the Chief Executive Officer, Jim Summer and Chief Technical Officer, Glenn Saint. The glittering event was held on Tuesday, November 29, night at London’s Grosvenor House hotel, and was attended by leading politicians and business leaders of motor industry.

Speaking at the event, Summer said, “On behalf of all our employees at Optare it gives me immense pride to collect this very prestigious award, which is the culmination of three years of hard work by the team. We passionately believe that the future of the bus industry lies in EVs and that Optare’s demonstrated market leadership will be sustained in the years to come as zero emission technology takes off.”

He further added, “Amongst the many awards that we have won, the SMMT Award for Automotive Innovation is particularly exciting since we have been judged by our peers in the industry. We have invested a significant amount over the past three years in developing our EVs and have learned many lessons from our early service vehicles which have been important in this success. Clearly anyone who now doubts the future of EV technology in the bus industry needs to seriously think again.”

Optare is the single producer of the full-size, battery-powered buses in the UK, which are used for commercial purpose. The buses are manufactured at the company's modern assembly plant, located at Sherburn-in-Elmet in Yorkshire. The company's advanced technology will now be used at other locations in Europe, which would be further enhanced by Ashok Leyland’s international sales network.

The largest electric Bus from the stables of Optare is the Versa EV, which has the capacity to carry in excess of 50 passengers. Optare's electric buses, along with Solo and Solo SR all-electric models have been successfully running in Durham, Nottingham, Dorchester (Poundbury), Coventry and at London’s Heathrow Airport. As these electric vehicles do not produce any emissions and make low noise, they, apart from contributing to a cleaner and quieter environment, are widely preferred by the passengers.

Summer said, “It is hugely important that national and local governments as well as bus operators get behind electric buses which are now a reality, as this prestigious Award demonstrates. This is a great opportunity for Ashok Leyland to take the lead in the rapidly emerging global market for green transport.”

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