Among Indian EV makers, Tata Motors has been leading the pack due to an unprecedented demand for the Nexon EV, which is India’s best selling EV, followed by the launch of the 2021 Tigor EV, the country’s first electrified compact sedan. Tata Motors now holds a 70 percent share of the electric car market, which is projected to increase with the launch of the Tigor EV.
Tata Motors plans to increase its efforts in the coming years in order to maintain its first-mover advantage. Tata Motors president Shailesh Chandra, president of its passenger vehicles business unit (PVBU), told an automobile source that the EV segment would comprise 25 percent of its sedan line-up in the next five years. Tata will have to aggressively expand its electric vehicle portfolio if it hopes to account for a quarter of its car sales. Consequently, Shailesh Chandra, president, PVBU, Tata Motors stated that the company will have 10 electric vehicles in its lineup by 2025.
The company has no plans to introduce an EV platform any time soon:
According to the top executive, native electric vehicles have the advantage of having a big battery in a small package. A special electric vehicle platform is custom-built with electrification in mind. It maximizes space between the front and rear axles by not requiring an engine under the hood. As a result, a larger battery can be installed and the driving range is improved.
There is, however, a cost associated with this. When batteries are so expensive today, it’s not cost-effective to build a larger battery right now, so adoption is very unlikely, so Tata feels the best strategy is to stay away from building a custom EV platform in the short term.
EVs will eventually be converted to native ones, but Chandra says, “it will be timed correctly so that there is a (business) case for native EV products.” Tata will most likely reach a compromise in the meantime. The transition to electrification might also include an intermediate stage in which you would like to further adapt the current architectures for IC products in order to better serve electrification.”
There is an opportunity to electrify larger SUVs:
Accordingly, all vehicles from mainstream car manufacturers in India fall into this category, including Tata Nexon Electric and Tigor Electric, Hyundai Kona Electric and MG ZS Electric. Automobile makers are putting more attention on electrification in compact vehicle segments, while ICE players have dominated bigger SUVs.
According to Chandra, such vehicles are heavier and tend to be driven over longer distances at a time. Larger batteries are therefore required, which add to the cost and weight of the device. In addition, he added, “As battery prices come down, bigger market opportunities will be created in the (large SUV) segments”. “And when you build a skateboard from the ground up, that will also open doors,” he added.
The Nexon EV matches the demand for the Nexon diesel:
According to Tata, it has sold over 6,000 Nexon EVs to date, and although the demand for the model was strong at the beginning, it has exploded in recent months. The Nexon EV (launched in January 2020) used to receive around 300 bookings (per month) at the time, and we were delighted to know that the country was embracing electric vehicles. This has increased by sevenfold since our conversation today,” Chandra said.
The number of bookings per month for Nexon diesel is over 2,000 – that’s very close to our monthly numbers for the diesel. The Nexon electric vehicle has seen steep growth in demand.” According to Chandra, the demand for electric vehicles is gaining momentum because initial buyers are responding positively and fuel prices continue to rise. In addition, this has been aided by people realizing that they are usually charging their devices at home. Finally, there are state subsidies that lower the price of EVs significantly.