Tata Motors aims to establish itself as the leader in the electric vehicle (EV) market in the country as it looks to roll out new products for both private and fleet segments, a senior company official said.
The company, which sells its Tigor EV primarily to fleet customers, is now gearing up to cater to the personal segment with the introduction of the electric version of compact SUV Nexon which comes with a range of over 300 kms.
"As far as Tata Motors is concerned, we want to establish ourselves as leaders in the EV space. We have taken up the mission that we should be ahead in terms of EV technology," Tata Motors President Electric Mobility Buisness Shailesh Chandra told PTI in an interview.
The auto major aims to build complete in-house capabilities in terms of design, supply chain and even full local manufacturing in the EV space as part of its plans to be a complete player in the segment, he added.
"As an India OEM (original equipment manufacturer), we should be seen as very strong brand in the EV space. Here we are not dealing with 70 years old ICE (internal combustion engine) world. We are not catching up. Here, let others catch up with us, that is the thinking," Chandra said.
He added that the company aims to have two clear types of customers -- fleet and private buyers and accordingly it needs to come with different solutions for both segments.
Besides Nexon, which Chandra said would be priced between Rs 15-17 lakh, the company would also consider all the future products coming on its Alfa architecture as potential candidates for electrification.
Tata Motors has just introduced premium hatchback Altroz, which is the first product to be based on the Alfa architecture. It has also introduced Ziptron powertrain for EVs under which the company plans to provide a range of over 250 kms for all its upcoming models.
"Alfa architecture is protected for electrification. Every product on this platform will be a target for electrification. Altroz is the next target for us, that is the next project we are working on," Chandra said.
The company would also keep working on updating its products meant for fleet segment, he added.
The company in the first phase would look at seven major cities for EV deployment and later expand operations in other parts of the country.
While lauding government's efforts in terms of introducing a comprehensive FAME-II scheme, Chandra said the authorities could further push adoption of EVs by making private segment four-wheelers also eligible for incentives.
"In case government extends the FAME incentive to the private segment to those cars which qualify the criteria, it will unleash a different kind of potential for electrification. This is the only missing piece," Chandra noted.
The company has requested the government to consider giving incentives to private segment vehicles as well to create demand.
"We have requested the government to consider that because they have taken a target of 35,000 electric cars in the next three years. In the first year, there will be around 3,000 cars...so why not open it up for the private (segment) also to make the programme successful," Chandra said.
He, however, agreed that challenges in terms of charging infrastructure remained in the country.
"This is again one piece which is going to be addressed over next two years and the story is going to be different," Chandra said.
He also emphasised on the need to bring in EVs in the entry segment in order to make them more appealing to the prospective customers in terms of pricing.
Chandra said that in all around 300 EVs were sold by various OEMs in the first quarter of the current fiscal. In the second quarter, the volume rose to 500 units and to 800 units in the third quarter.
"We expect fourth quarter to be double of third quarter due to the recent product launches...the perception that it (EV) space is only going to be limited to the fleet segment will not be the case with many launches expected in the personal space," he noted.
The EV space is going to be a fair mix of fleet and personal segment cars, Chandra said.
Around 15-20 launches in the EV space have already been announced, he added. Besides Tata Motors, companies like Mahindra & Mahindra, Hyundai and MG Motor have introduced electric models in the country.