Tata Motors says learning lessons from customer feedback on electric vehicles

Published: July 12, 2019 12:22:12 AM

The second tender for another 10,000 vehicles has also been postponed for an indefinite period.

Tata Motors’ PV business president Mayank Pareek Tata Motors’ PV business president Mayank Pareek

By Pritish Raj

Tata Motors is learning its lessons from customer feedback on electric vehicles (EVs), where range anxiety and high price looms large, according to Mayank Pareek, president of passenger vehicles business, who also blamed bad driving behaviour and traffic conditions for the poor range of its EV Tigor.

His comments come following complaints by government officials that the range is way lesser than what was promised by the company. While the company claimed a range of 130 km when fully charged, officials said they barely touch 85 km.

Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) won the tender to supply 10,000 EVs in 2017 to Energy Efficiency Services (EESL), which has deployed the units to various government departments. While M&M has supplied its sedan e-Verito, Tata Motors has sold the Tigor. So far, the companies have supplied over 1,500 vehicles to (EESL). Officials complained about M&M’s e-Verito too.

Pareek agreed that initially, there were concerns related to the range of both the manufacturers but asserted that every consumer has a different driving behaviour and the range depends on that.

“But we are also learning and they are also learning,” he told FE, adding that Tata Motors is working to resolve the three major problems related to the EVs, namely the range, price and the charging infrastructure.

Officials have asked EESL to urge Tata Motors and M&M to increase the battery strength to give the vehicles a range of least 120 km in normal road and traffic conditions. However, EESL wants them to make do with the current lot because a bigger battery capacity would mean a higher cost.

Since the demand for EVs remains subdued possibly because of dissatisfaction over the range, EESL has given the companies an additional year till March 2020 to supply the remaining units. Earlier, the companies were to supply the entire units by March 2019.

The second tender for another 10,000 vehicles has also been postponed for an indefinite period.

Stating that if one abuses the car, the range would fall, Pareek said the way one drives is what matters. “EVs are silent cars but our drivers are used to some noise, so they crank again and again. But the software is designed in such a way that if you crank more than a particular time, it will create problems,” Pareek said. “These are mindset change which people will have to adopt,” he said, adding it may take some time but electric is a proposition whose time has come.

The vehicles supplied by both the companies come with a battery pack of 18 kilowatt (kW), while the global standard is 25-35kW. Vehicles with a battery pack of around 30 kW will have a range of at least 250 km.

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