The Indian carmaker Tata Motors is actively considering entry into foreign markets with a portfolio of EVs. Speaking to DIGITIMES Asia recently, Vivek Srivatsa, head of Marketing, Sales, and Service Strategy at Tata Passenger Electric Mobility, a subsidiary of Tata Motors, also revealed that the company has already identified a few regions.
"While we cannot comment in detail on our future plans, we are actively thinking of the international markets, and we would like to go with a portfolio of products," Srivatsa said. "We have identified a few markets, and in a couple of years, we should commence the same. Our goal is to go global eventually."
This comes even as the company continues to dominate the local market. Several reports suggest that Tata Motors posted its highest-ever EV sales in the month of May 2022. By 2025, it plans to launch as many as 10 EVs in the country.
Making EVs mainstream
Tata Motors aims to bring EV technology mainstream in India. The company has come a long way from a budding start with electrified vehicles to an entirely new take on building pure EVs, which enable disruptive form factors and modern design language.
"Currently, we have four electric cars in our portfolio, including the Tigor EV, XPRES-T EV sedan, the Nexon EV, one of the most stylish cars on the road, and the newly launched Nexon EV MAX, the long-range version of India's highest selling EV - the Nexon EV," Srivatsa said. "Our EVs come with the Ziptron technology, which makes our products stand at a better rank comparatively in the market."
"Ziptron technology showcases the fact that electric vehicles are breathtakingly swift, incredibly silent, extremely pocket-friendly, and hassle-free to run. And while it has a fun-to-drive element, it doesn't impact the environment. Safety is yet another important feature, and all our cars offer high structural safety and have the next level of waterproofing and dust protection."
Launching new concepts in EV
To cater to a wide range of customers across segments, Tata Motors has adopted a three-pronged approach for EV architecture and plans to bring a range of EVs across various price points with multiple body styles and features. The vehicles built are very scalable and of flexible architecture, with the ability to spawn a range of globally competitive pure EVs with the desired footprint for all terrains.
For this strategy, the company has already introduced products like Nexon EV, Tigor EV, and the latest entrant, the Nexon EV MAX, based on the Generation 1 EV architecture, and derived from existing combustion-engine products, with a range of around 250-430+ km.
"Taking this story ahead, Tata Motors showcased the Concept CURVV in April 2022 - the 1st model under the Generation 2 EV architecture," Srivatsa said. "The Generation 2 EV architecture will be advanced, flexible, and capable of offering multi-powertrain options. Products on this architecture will be crafted to deliver a higher range while retaining the credibility and reliability standards set by the Generation 1 products powered by Ziptron. With the design philosophy of 'Less is More,' this concept is a progressive and modern SUV which represents simplicity in complexity."
Following the Concept CURVV showcase, Tata Motors also unveiled the AVINYA Concept - a glimpse of its vision of a pure electric vehicle based on its Generation 3 EV architecture.
"The agile and robust pure EV GEN 3 Architecture offers a flexible design while boasting of next-gen connectivity, advanced driver assistance systems, and enhanced performance and efficiency," Srivatsa said. "Pioneered out of India for the world, this global platform offers 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, proprietary energy management strategies, and algorithms for efficiency management."
The use of lightweight materials and optimized structure for an EV-only powertrain enables appropriate stiffness and helps minimize the overall mass, leading to good weight management. Furthermore, the battery will support an ultra-fast charge capability, in line with the infrastructure evolution, pumping a minimum 500km range in under 30 minutes.
What does the Indian consumer want?
Until recently, EVs were a secondary option for Indian customers, used for shorter commutes or occasional intracity travels. But now, more and more customers are adopting EVs as their primary vehicles as the focus shifts to owning sustainable and environment-friendly products. Increasing fuel prices are also making ICE vehicles less attractive.
"Today, our EV fleet is almost at par with our ICE fleet in terms of the options available for the customers to choose from," Srivatsa said. "The major reason for this gradual shift to EV is the availability of a variety of products. Customers now have the option to buy an EV that caters to their needs. We currently have four products in our fleet, each equipped with special features, different range, and all of them come at a different price point."
While vehicles are available, charging infrastructure and range anxiety has been a major concern. To solve these, Tata Motors has tried to leverage the synergies of its group companies.
"This has led us to develop the holistic EV ecosystem - the Tata UniEVerse," Srivatsa added. "As a part of the same, our partnership with Tata Power has helped us expand to more than 1,500 charging stations across the country. Having said that, we are committed to offering smart, safe, and innovative charging solutions to our customers by providing complete end-to-end services, from captive charger installations to maintenance and other aspects that encapsulates EV owners."
An electric future
Tata has been a household name in India for decades, but only recently did Tata Motors become popular in the passenger vehicle category. The company had grabbed global attention with an ultra-low-cost car earlier, but the product itself didn't impress many.
But those experiences are a thing of the past as the company has managed to move into the EV segment faster than its competition, especially foreign manufacturers with a strong domestic ICE footprint. At present, there is a strong local interest in Tata cars, both ICE and EVs. It would be interesting to see how they take on the international players on their home trough.