More EVs in pipeline, not just for fleet, govt sales but also for private users: Tata Motors

Tata Motors plans to bring a plethora of electric vehicles catering to not just fleet owners and government sales but also to private consumers with aspirational products going ahead, according to a senior company official.

The auto major, which sells Tigor EV in the domestic market, mostly supplying for state-owned EESL’s orders, has also decided to adopt a focussed market approach for its EV sales, targeting 20-25 locations across India.

Tata Motors President- Electric Mobility Business & Corporate Strategy Shailesh Chandra told reporters that the company does not foresee, at least in the next five years, developing a separate platform for EVs, as it would leverage on its ALFA (agile light advanced architecture) platform for internal combustion engines to develop such eco-friendly vehicles.

“In the coming years we are going to bring in cars that are relevant for fleet, relevant for the government, officials and then aspirational vehicles in the private segment,” he said in an interaction on the sidelines of 89th edition of Geneva Motor Show.

The company plans to cater to the fleet segment with products like Tigor EV while for the private segment it aims to offer aspirational products to customers who have “natural inclination for higher performance and who seek newer technologies”, he added.

“Whatever cars that are possibly going to come on the ALFA architecture are typically going to be a candidate for electrification, that is our intent,” Chandra said.

The company has already showcased an electric version of premium hatchback Altroz, which is expected to hit the market in the next two years. He also hinted that there could be more EVs from Tata Motors before the electric Altroz hits the market.

Stressing on the company’s strategy on ICE platform for EVs, he noted that it is important that whatever body styles that exist in the internal combustion engine (ICE) segment, have to also come in electric cars with slight intervention that is differentiated like in Altroz.

Tata Motors would also focus at bringing in buses and small light commercial vehicles which satisfy government requirements and cater to last mile distribution respectively, he said.

When asked about the company’s investment plans for the segment, he said that Tata Motors is leveraging on its current ICE architectures for the time being.

“We are going to piggyback on those investments because these are electric ready and with minimal investment we can make maximum impact and therefore we have every sustainable business case for doing electrification of the models,” Chandra said.

Considering market demand, the company can carry on with piggyback strategy for the next five years and later if need be go on for a completely new architecture, he added.

Tata Motors is ready with Tiago EV but would like to bring it in the market when there is demand for it, Chandra said.

Commenting on the EV market strategy, he said:”There is no point spreading yourself thin across the country. It is better to choose certain micro markets where there is higher propensity of customers to consider an electric vehicle, where there is an issue of pollution, where there is adequate size of passenger vehicle industry that is available.”

He further said: “Keeping all this in consideration we have identified certain 20-25 markets and then we are working with different partners.”

When asked to comment on FAME II policy, Chandra said that it is focussed on public transport and shows that the government is serious about electric mobility.

“If we want a more sustainable electrification to happen in the country and meet vision 2030 while this initial focus is good, at some stage you will have to start promoting private segment in four-wheelers,” he noted.

It would be pertinent to provide option to a customer who would like to transition from an electric two-wheeler to a electric four-wheeler, Chandra said.

Last month, the government announced Rs 10,000 crore FAME II scheme which will be implemented over a period of three years with effect from April 1, 2019.

Under the scheme, subsidy will be provided to three-wheeler and four-wheeler EVs used for public transport or registered commercial purposes. In the two-wheeler segment, the focus will be on private vehicles.

Through the scheme, 10 lakh electric two-wheelers, five lakh three-wheelers, 55,000 four-wheelers and 7,000 buses are planned to be given subsidies.