India’s electric 2-wheeler market has been booming over the last few years. However, the electric car sector has been pretty slow. India’s electric car sector is now starting to show signs of life after the slow start compared to other markets, given how large India’s auto industry is. About 4 million cars across all drivetrains were sold in India last year, and it will be one of the largest markets in the world for electric cars when they go mainstream in the country.
Looking back to January 2018, only 25 electric cars were sold in that month and just over a thousand EVs were sold that whole year. The first month to cross the 1,000 EV sales mark was in March 2021. Sales have been increasing steadily since then, thanks to companies like Tata introducing some new models and slowly ramping up production.
With models such as the Nexon and Tigor EV, Tata has about 90%of the electric car market in India. The recently introduced Tata Tiago EV that is priced at parity with similar ICE vehicles, has landed with a bang. The Tata Tiago was launched on the 28th of September, registered 20,000 bookings in a short space of time. There is now a 4-month waiting list for the Tata Tiago. 20,000 bookings is very impressive in India.
Tata is turning things up a notch and has unveiled some interesting concept EVs. The Tata Harrier Concept EV is expected in 2024 and estimates say it will be priced from about $27,000. The Harrier is an electric all-wheel drive SUV. Tata says that it is a 5-seater SUV engineered on the OMEGA Architecture, derived from the legendary Land Rover D8 architecture and developed in collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover. “With HARRIER.EV we are extending this pedigree to the Gen 2 EV architecture, delivering an uncompromised range and top notch advanced features.” Reports say the Harrier EV is expected to have a battery capacity of around 60 kWh to 70 kWh and will have a range between 400 km to 500 km.
The Sierra EV concept has been designed for, “an Outdoorsy lifestyle and a Unique status complemented by versatile and plush interiors, emotionally connecting across generations.” Tata adds that “the clamshell tailgate provides unparalleled access to the rear luggage compartment, enabling the sleek uninterrupted tail lamp to be embedded across the width of the car. Although, compact in exterior dimensions, the car has a roomy and spacious interior. Furthermore, the signature glazing and panoramic sunroof emphasise a bright and energising environment.” The Sierra EV is expected to go on sale around 2025 and estimated start from about $30,000. The estimated range will be roughly 400 kilometers on a single charge.
The other interesting concept vehicle is the Avinya EV. The Avinya is based on the GEN 3 architecture. Tata says the Avinya is, “derived from the Sanskrit language, the name AVINYA stands for ‘Innovation’. It comes packed with new-age technology, software and artificial intelligence that work in the background to deliver wellness and tranquillity during transit. Providing an extremely premium yet simple and calming customer experience.”
Tata also says that the Avinya is built on platform offering high structural safety and has the next level of waterproofing and dust protection, making it ready for all forms of terrains.
“This architecture is built with the use of next-gen materials, efficient electronic componentry, and proprietary energy management strategies & algorithms for efficiency management. Use of lightweight materials, and optimized structure for an EV only powertrain with enabled appropriate stiffness, helps minimize the overall mass, leading to good weight management. Furthermore, the battery used will support an ultra-fast charge capability, in line with the infrastructure evolution, pumping a minimum 500 kms range in under 30 minutes.”
It will be introduced to the market by 2025. It is expected to start from around $37,000.
Then there is the Curvv EV concept. Tata says the “Curvv merges the toughness and durability of an SUV with an elegant and sporty silhouette of a Coupe; the CURVV has found the perfect balance between elegance, performance and practicality.” The Curvv is expected to go on sale in 2024 and is estimated to start from around $23,000.
Tata currently dominates the EV market in India, but its dominant position will soon be tested as players like BYD and MG increase their footprint in the market. Local players such as Mahindra are also ramping up their EV portfolio. It’s great to see Tata is expanding its BEV portfolio, ranging from the $10,000 Tiago to the estimated $37,000 Avinya. Its portfolio will include city EVs and long range EVs as well as adventure EVs for an “outdoorsy lifestyle” like the Sierra EV.
In a market that sells 4 million vehicles per year across all drivetrains, well-priced EVs will have a huge addressable market. There could also be a huge opportunity for Indian companies like Tata to take the lead and supply right-hand drive vehicles to overseas markets ahead of other players from North America and China. North American and Chinese manufacturers usually start off with left-hand drive vehicles only and then introduce right-hand drive models later on. Indian-made vehicles will automatically have right-hand drive options for their home market and accelerating export plans of some models will help feed affordable RHD options to other markets in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, as well as countries in east and southern Africa.
The other advantage it has is unlike a lot of new energy vehicle startups, and also legacy OEMs, which have followed the same formula of starting with top of the range ($70,000 plus) electric vehicles and then moving slowly to develop lower priced versions, Tata has already started to produce more affordable EVs tailored for its home market. As the majority of car buyers worldwide can’t afford the usual premium EVs that cost over $50,000, Tata could position itself nicely on the global EV stage. Hopefully it can ramp up production and deliveries soon and try and catch up to the volumes we are seeing in China.
Images courtesy of Tata
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