Tata Motors focussing on 'aspirational yet affordable' EVs | The Financial Express

Tata Motors focussing on ‘aspirational yet affordable’ EVs

Tata Motors believes it is important to provide an attractive no-compromise electric vehicle but at an affordable price point to customers to drive electrification in India. Anand Kulkarni – VP – Operations, Product Line and Purchase & Supplier Quality outlines the company’s gameplan.

Tata Motors focussing on ‘aspirational yet affordable’ EVs

Tata Motors is keen about breaking a key price barrier for EVs with the launch of the electric version of its popular hatchback. The Tiago.ev’s base model is priced quite aggressively starting Rs 8.49 lakh and this has no doubt become the centre point of attention. With this Tata Motors’ aims to replicate the success of the Nexon EV and further expand its potential customer base by offering them a no-compromise budget-friendly electric vehicle.

The Tiago.ev is available in two battery capacity options – a 19.2 kWh pack and a larger 24 kWh pack, offering a claimed range of 250km and 315km respectively.

Speaking with Express Mobility at the sidelines of the launch, Anand Kulkarni, VP – Operations, Product Line and Purchase & Supplier Quality, Tata Passenger Electric Mobility said, “We built a product (Tiago.ev) that was aspirational, fun, exciting and would also be premium at the same time. We did not want to cut down on anything which would take away the quotient of performance, reliability and aspiration from the program. We configured it in such a way that we could use parts from existing architecture and other products.”

Anand Kulkarni: “The moment the option of an electric variant is available within a certain premium bracket, then there are 20-30 percent of people who are willing to make the switch to an EV.”

“When you look at the existing Tiago, it is a compact yet spacious, comfortable and a great car to drive. It is very manoevuerable and had this inherent foundation block already available. Then what we had to do was find the right kind of architecture from the electrical perspective, which had the sweet spot touch about it, in terms of range, performance and power,” added Kulkarni.

He says the focus for Tata Motors’ is to build electric vehicles “not only which are aspirational but also affordable for the masses.”

Giving an example of the introduction of the Nexon EV, he said that the company undertook market research that provided an insight that while customers had the willingness to buy an electric vehicle, it was important to not go beyond a certain “premium over its IC-engine counterpart” to be in the considerate set.

Kulkarni pointed out that at present, the company expects around 20-25 percent of booking interest from customers for the electric version of the Tigor and Nexon.

“The moment the option of an electric variant is available within a certain premium bracket, then there are 20-30 percent of people who are willing to make the switch to an EV. Now, when you look at the fact that there is a choice electric option available for customers in the form of the Tiago.ev for a large number of people who at present do not have a credible EV option available,” explained Kulkarni.

When asked about his opinion of hybrids, he says while the technology may offer a short-term approach to meet the upcoming CAFÉ norms, it offers improvement in fuel economy by 10-25 percent, which is not a lot. However, on the other hand, it also brings in more complexity and sophistication, then there is the challenge of servicing and maintenance.

On the diesel front, he said that there are a set of customers who still have a distinctive choice towards it as they find it to offer better torque and drive long distances.

“But diesel is not written off completely and will continue. Off course, from the CAFÉ perspective diesel is a slightly better option compared to petrol, and therefore, diesel percentage has gone down in the past few years compared to the extent it was 4-5 years back. I don’t think it has reached a stage when it can be completely written off,” concludes Kulkarni.

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