As electric cars supplied by Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) failed to come up to the mark on several parameters, EESL — a public sector unit under the ministry of power — has placed initial orders with MG Motor India for its newly launched electric car ZS, multiple people aware of the development said.
The latest order comes as the government’s largest electric vehicle (EV) procurement programme, rolled out in 2017, failed because of poor performance and low range of vehicles supplied by Tata Motors and M&M. Tata Motors had supplied its sedan Tigor while M&M sold its e-Verito electric sedan.
EESL has ordered around five cars of MG Motor, to be used and tested by officials and post their satisfaction, more orders will be placed, one of the persons said. The orders were placed despite a high price tag of over Rs 20 lakh, double than that of vehicles sold by Tata Motors and M&M.
“Since the price is high, the vehicle by MG will primarily be used by Cabinet ministers, select ministers of state and heads of a few PSUs,” another person, who did not wished to be named, said. The cars supplied by Tata Motors and M&M were used by senior government officials.
Rajeev Chaba, president & managing director at MG Motor India, confirmed the information on the initial orders placed by EESL but refused to divulge further details. “Some of the senior rank ministers have expressed desire to use ZS in their personal capacity too. Many officials tested it and the feedback we received was very compelling,” Chaba told FE.
Without elaborating, Saurabh Kumar managing director at EESL, said further order depends on the demand. “The order for MG ZS is to promote new launches in the EV segment,” Kumar said. EESL has also placed initial orders of Hyundai Kona, which is priced at Rs 23.5 lakh. Kona is currently being used by power minister RK Singh, environment minister Prakash Javadekar, NTPC chairman and MD Gurdeep Singh and PFC chairman Rajeev Sharma.
While the claimed range of MG ZS is 340 km on a full charge, Hyundai Kona can run up to 450 km, much higher than around 130 km claimed by Tata Motors and M&M. ZS and Kona are powered by a 44.5 kilowatt hour (kWh) battery and a 39.2 kWh battery, respectively, while the Tigor and e-Verito sedans have less than 20 kWh batteries.
As part of the tender floated by EESL in 2017, Tata Motors and M&M were to supply 10,000 units. However, officials refused to use them, citing issues including low range, AC cooling and sudden battery discharge. So far, less than 1,500 units have been supplied and EESL is planning to close the order at 3,000 units. FE had reported in May 2019 that even as the manufacturers claimed a range of 130 kms when fully charged, they are able to do just about 85 km.
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