US-based Eaton Corporation, an industrial equipment provider and diversified power management company, will open two new engineering centres in India next year.
The two new centres will be in addition to the company’s engineering centre operational in the Kharadi Knowledge Park in Pune. The company employs about 800 people at the centre and plans to expand it this year.
The company’s executive V-P and chief technology officer Lennart Jonsson said, “We hope to recruit 200-350 people every year for the centres. We are looking to expand the capabilities at the existing facility too.”
The company refused to divulge details on investment and the location of the new centres, saying they were yet to be finalised.
In addition, the company is looking to bag orders from Indian commercial vehicle companies such as Tata Motors and Volvo-Eicher to supply their hybrid technology, which could be used in buses and trucks.
Eaton is engaged in talks with Tata Motors, which sells every second vehicle in the Indian commercial vehicle market, for this purpose. Tata Motors has got a heavy presence in the bus segment too where its market share is around 46 per cent.
The Tata Ace vehicles supplied by the company for the Commonwealth Games held recently were equipped with Eaton’s hybrid technology, which was developed at the Pune engineering centre.
According to Jonsson, a hybrid bus can be 70 per cent more fuel efficient than a conventional vehicle that runs on diesel as its primary fuel. Besides high fuel-efficiency, hybrid vehicles are low on the maintenance cost.
A hybrid vehicle can have a combination of a fuel (CNG, LPG, petrol or diesel) and an electric motor. It can also be a fully electric vehicle complete with rechargeable batteries. Demand for hybrid buses is high in India, according to Eaton.
The company has sold around 1,200 units of hybrid buses in China and is in the process of setting up a battery unit in that country. In India, the company is hoping to strike technology licensing agreements with CV making companies.
The engineering centres of Eaton will also play a bigger role for the company in development of hybrid and other technology for overseas applications, the executive said.
Chennai-based Ashok Leyland has even developed a plug-in CNG hybrid bus called Hybus, which was showcased at the Auto Expo earlier this year. This bus offers fuel saving to the tune of 20-30 per cent.