Tata Motors and its two UK-based premium brands, Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR), are increasing their focus on alternative fuel technology such as electrics and hybrids.
Tata Motors has already developed a hybrid electric, CNG hybrid buses and all-electric vehicles. JLR has decided to invest significantly towards such technologies, beside driverless cars.
“Jaguar Land Rover continues to invest significantly in the development of new powertrain technologies, with plans to introduce mild hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles into its product range,” stated the annual report of Tata Motors.
JLR currently offers diesel hybrid variants of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. Parent Tata Motors recently bagged orders to supply 25 Starbus diesel hybrid electric low-floor buses to be run in the business district of Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai.
Tata Motors has also developed a zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cell-powered Magic Iris Ziva, as well as a fully-electric version of its popular mini truck, the Ace. A fully electric bus based on the Ultra platform for urban commuting, with provisions for charging ports and Wi-Fi hotspots, was showcased by the company at the latest Auto Expo.
Further, JLR recently announced its Jaguar brand would be competing in the FIA Formula-E championship from August, to create a test bed for future electrification technology. Home grown Mahindra & Mahindra is competing in the same championship.
Reports state an all-electric car as early as next year could be ready for launch under the Jaguar brand.
Hybrids or pure electric cars are more expensive than conventional petrol or diesel-powered vehicles because of their premium-cost technology. Drawbacks like limited driving range, lack of power and lack of charging infrastructure in India and globally have been the main reason for lower popularity.
They however remain the most economical option in the market to operate, beside the most environment friendly.
JLR said this week it would create a fleet of at least 100 research vehicles over four years to test autonomous and connected technology. The company is developing a technology that provides a three-dimensional view of the street and radio signal communication between vehicles.