As already reported, Tata Motors has big plans for the 2019 Geneva motor show next month. Of the four models that will be in spotlight at the Tata Motors stand, one will be an electric version of the upcoming Tata 45X large hatchback. While the 45X EV will highlight the electrification possibilities for products based on Tata’s Alfa architecture, it is on the cards for series production too.
Speaking about the electric vehicle, Shailesh Chandra, president - electric mobility business & corporate strategy, Tata Motors said the model “will be closer to an exciting electric vehicle with the right (driving) range, very exciting for private consumers, and one that will drive aspiration in the market. The timeline for an India launch of the production-spec model could be much shorter than the previously thought 3-4 years; it could launch in the next 2 years.”
While Chandra did not delve into the technical aspects of the car, he did talk of the all-important issue of range. “For 80 percent of the (private buyer) EV use cases, a 140km range is good. Some customers feel that a 200km driving range will be great.” Tata’s new EVs may offer up to 250km of driving range in a single charge. "After talking to customers and certain entities which are voluntary groups in the electric mobility space, we have come to a conclusion that anywhere between 220km and 250km is an optimum range to give. Technically it's possible to give 300-400km range even without going for a dedicated platform. Then the price increases to the extent that it would not make sense,” says Chandra while maintaining that 140-150km driving range is still optimum for a midsize car.
Tata Motors is yet to enter the personal EV space. It had previously bagged an order for 5,050 electric Tigors from Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), has provided 500 cars to self-drive rental company Zoomcar and had discussions with ‘50-60’ fleet operators. “The primary market (for EVs) for the next 4-5 years is going to be fleet, but we want to focus on overall adoption of electrification including in the private segment. This is what we want to drive,” says Chandra.
Tata wants to be a ‘market maker’ in the EV space, and has devised a three-pronged strategy to achieve this. Its current strategy of converting cars with IC engines to EVs with 'optimised range, price and performance' will be joined by long-range EVs and 'aspirational' EVs with 'class-leading technologies and features'. The brand is taking a 'micro market approach' to build the business – 20-25 cities which are conducive for electric mobility (read high pollution, state government incentives, early adopters) are part of the first phase.
The conventional engine-powered Tata 45X will launch in India in August 2019, and will mark Tata Motor’s entry in the premium hatchback segment. Tata 45X rivals will include the Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Hyundai i20 and Honda Jazz.