Tata Motors has commemorated its 20th consecutive year of participation at the Geneva motor show in style with the global unveiling of the sleek all-electric EVision Sedan Concept. While the sedan concept had been teased in the run up to the motor show, contrary to expectations, it comes built on an EV derivative of Tata’s Omega platform (shared with Land Rover) rather than the Alfa platform (better known as AMP) that is to underpin future hatchback, sedan and small SUV models from Tata. However, the EVision Sedan Concept is a design study at this point and the real emphasis is on the flexibility of the Omega platform to be modified to host electric powertrains, as well as the interior concept for Tata EVs of the future.
Like the H5X SUV and 45X hatchback concept that premiered at Auto Expo 2018, the EVision Concept is styled to Tata’s latest Impact Design 2.0 design language. By extension that means the look is a huge departure from all that we’ve seen from the carmaker so far. There is a clear visual link to the 45X hatchback concept at the front, what with the slim LED headlamps that flow out from the grille at either end. However, the grille is larger here and brushed aluminium has been used to good effect to embellish what Tata calls the ‘humanity line’ that underlines the grille and headlights. In general, the EVision’s front-end looks more ‘evolved’ vis-à-vis that of the 45X concept. The sedan’s smoothly surfaced front bumper, replete with its L-shaped elements and brushed aluminum chin, do suggest as much.
The EVision breaks the typical three-box sedan template with an almost fastback-like shape, but, like the Tigor, the boot has a conventional opening. Large 21-inch wheels, the broad C-pillar and a bold and pronounced shoulder line lend solidity to the design, yet there’s a certain visual delicacy with which the roof flows into the tail section. Other details of note at the sides include flush-fitting door handles, sculpted outside mirrors and the use of aluminium to line the top of the windows and base of the doors.
There’s a liberal dose of aluminium at the base of the rear bumper too but the defining design element has to be the recessed section for the high-set tail-lights. Surfacing is crisp and clean throughout and you wouldn’t be wrong to think the concept is from a premium European carmaker; the execution is that good.
Tata Motors had disclosed a new focus on cabin ambience and the human-machine interface on cars built to Impact Design 2.0, and the EVision concept’s interior does show the result of that focus. There’s a decidedly premium look to the cabin with a generous use of high-quality wood and upmarket materials. Light colours aid the feeling of space on the inside, further enhanced by the floating dashboard that does without a centre console that extends to the floor. Tata’s designers claim to have made full use of the packaging flexibility allowed by the EV platform to maximise cabin room, and the EVision demonstrates how electric vehicle cabins can differ from those of conventional internal combustion engine-powered cars despite sharing the same 'top hat' or body. Speaking to Autocar India, Guenter Butschek, CEO and MD, Tata Motors said “The EVision gives a glimpse of what you can expect as far as the interior packaging is concerned if you get rid of the centre console and tunnel. If I take the Alfa and Omega architecture, with the conversion from internal combustion engine (ICE) to an electric version, we could actually change the internal packaging completely. So this is possibly giving a first glimpse on how the electric version might differentiate itself from the ICE, although the top hat is the same,”
Further, a bench seat arrangement up front is also a possibility on the EV models. “What you see today for the interior, more-or-less a free hanging cockpit, no centre console, all the space available, which would give in certain models the opportunity to introduce a seat bench in the front instead of two front seats. It gives you a complete new play there.”
The dashboard itself is minimalist in design and is home to dual instrument screens (a hidden screen atop the dash and a retractable screen at the base of the dash) that remain concealed when not in use. Tata says the rear seats too are fully adjustable and promise to be big on headroom and knee room.
As mentioned earlier, the Tata EVision Sedan Concept comes built on a dedicated EV derivative of Tata’s Omega architecture. According to Butschek changes to the underbody were sufficient to convert the conventional architecture designed for combustion engine applications to one that could be used for electric vehicles. When asked if an all-new dedicated EV platform would have been the better approach, Butschek replied Tata Motors already had “a good starting point” in Land Rover’s D8 platform that Tata has branded Omega. The Omega EV platform is modular, flexible and scalable and ‘will address the range of performance attributes for long range travel.’ Tata Motors has revealed few technical details as yet but some of the highlights do include a sub-7 second 0-100kph time and a max speed of 200kph. Again, while battery capacity or charging times are not known, Tata has disclosed the EVision Sedan Concept offers fast charging capability.
Also onboard is a ‘prognostics controller for forecasting service requirements of vital components, predictive energy management based on live traffic and connected technologies such as cloud computing, analytics and geospatial mapping’. The EVision Sedan Concept is also equipped with advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) features.
Though Tata Motors has not revealed plans as yet, the EVision Sedan Concept could make production as a low-volume and niche electric vehicle in the future.