India is a nascent market for electric vehicles and everyone is trying their best to boost sales. The government has announced subsidies and tax exemptions, carmakers are constantly developing indigenous components to reduce reliance on imports, and power companies are gearing up the infrastructure for charging stations.
A recent report said only 8,000 electric vehicles have been sold in India in the last six years. By comparison, conventional cars are being sold in hordes, even in the middle of an economic slowdown. India has an established automotive industry that locally sources a majority of the cars. Players like Maruti Suzuki, Tata, Mahindra, Honda, and Hyundai have plans to unveiling affordable EVs soon.
Tata has an edge here because it is using conventional chassis for its EV offering. Instead of an internal combustion engine, the car is completely replaced with batteries and motors. This means only the technical automotive parts are replaced, all other elements like design and ergonomics remain the same. Of course, we know that the car will be more efficient and handle better when the chassis has been redesigned to handle the different weight distribution caused by the large battery. However, India is known for below-average roads and not all imported cars can easily survive this harsh treatment. Hence, a tried-and-tested frame makes a lot more sense.
Tata Motors is part of the Tata Group and the current parent of Jaguar-Land Rover (JLR). The automotive division has been running at a loss for a few years because the domestic market was dominated by new offerings while Tata relied on older platforms. JLR, on the other hand, has failed to grab market in China and posted a loss of £3.6 billion.
This is why the company is keen on getting an early edge with EVs. This week, Tata announced the launch of its extended range Tigor EV Sedan, starting at INR 9.44 lakh (£16,200 or $17,800). The vehicle will be available across 30 cities and comes with a rated range of 213 km.
The Tigor EV comes with a blue EV badge on the grille, EV decals and alloy wheels. The car has a shark-fin antenna and an LED high mounted stop lamp. On the inside, the Tigor EV gets black and grey interiors, a Harman audio system and height-adjustable driver’s seat. The 21.5kWh battery has fast charging capability and the car has two driving modes — Drive and Sport.
For comparison, the Hyundai Kona is a premium offering that comes with a starting price of INR 23.72 (£30,300 or $33,400). The Kona electric car is a compact crossover, similar to Hyundai Creta in terms of size and space. It offers a certified range of 452 kilometres on a single charge.
The India market when it come to electrification is nacent, it lacks the proper necessary public infrastructure for electric vehicles. According to the WEForum, India plans on having 30% EV penetration by 2030. And operationalizing this mass transition to electric mobility for a country of 1.3 billion people is not an easy feat. Companies like Tata releasing and affordable EV for urban centers is setting the right tone to make EVs accessible to the masses.