Tata launches Nexon EV; firm to leverage group ecosystem to scale up EV business

The electric SUV is priced between Rs 13.99 lakh and Rs 15.99 lakh

tata nexon Ratan Tata and Tata Sons Chairman N. Chandrasekaran at the launch of Tata Nexon EV | Janak D. Bhatt

With climate change increasingly affecting people, car makers around the world are speeding up their efforts to develop vehicles powered by greener technologies like electricity. The Tata Group, too, believes electric vehicles will soon become mainstream and the salt to software conglomerate plans to make use of the strengths of its various group companies ranging from automobile development to power and retail to scale up.

As a part of this collaboration, Tata Motors will build electric vehicles (EV) even as Tata Auto Comp Solutions will work on EV drivelines and powertrains. Tata Power will focus on creating a comprehensive infrastructure for charging EVs. Tata Chemicals will focus on battery cells. It had last year started battery recycling operations. 

"Globally, the shift towards EVs is a mega trend that is irreversible. In 2019, you had 1.5 million EVs sold globally, which is only accelerating. Shifting to electric mobility is not about building more cars and selling more cars. You need the charging infrastructure, you need battery packs, cells and also you need very good financing options. All of this is critical if this whole shift to electric mobility has to become successful," said N. Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons. 

On Tuesday, Tata Motors launched the much talked about Nexon EV, a month after it was officially unveiled. The company was already selling the Tigor EV. The Nexon EV is based on the company's new Ziptron technology for EVs. It will also come with the company's connected car technology Z-Connect. 

The Nexon EV has a claimed range of 312 kilometers on a single charge and the company is promising a 8 years warranty for the motor and battery.

The electric SUV will be available at introductory price of Rs 13.99 lakh ex-showroom for the XM variant, the XZ+ variant will cost Rs 14.99 lakh and you will further have to pay Rs 1 lakh more for the fully loaded XZ+ Lux variant. Tata Motors Finance will provide customised for EVs financing schemes, said Guenter Butschek MD and CEO of Tata Motors.

The Nexon is quite aggressively priced, compared to MG's ZS EV, which was launched recently at a starting price of Rs 20.88 lakh ex-showroom and the Hyundai Kona, which was launched last year for Rs 25.30 lakh.

Customers buying the Nexon EV will get a free charging installation, while Tata Power will provide preferential access to its EV charging infra.  

Currently, Tata Power has 100 fast-chargers installed in five cities, which will be scaled up to 300 by March 2020 and over 650 by next year. 

The Nexon EV will also be more widely available than the current crop of EVs. It will be sold through 60 dealer outlets in 22 cities. Furthermore, there will be shop-in-shops at select outlets of Tata Group's electronics retail chain Croma. "We are really at a cross road. We are going to change from the back-end to the front-end, with a strong focus on customer experience and sales and after sales, the journey of Tata Motors and the experience of customers," said Butschek.

The Nexon EV will be the first of several electric vehicles that Tata Motors is expected to launch in coming years. "We have at least four other products in the pipeline, two SUVs, hatchback and a sedan in the next 24 months," said Chandrasekaran. 

The company's alpha and omega architecture that all its products will be based on is such that all the future products will able to have EV variants.