Electric vehicle (EV) sales have been gaining traction in India, but the base remains low and still accounts for a small chunk of the overall automobile industry. In the year-ending March 2022, for instance, 4.29 lakh EVs were sold in the country—a three-fold increase from 1.35 lakh units sold in the previous year. However, passenger vehicles accounted for just 17,802 units, and were a fraction of the 27.26 lakh PVs that were sold in the same period.
High upfront costs and limited charging infrastructure have been among the two key reasons behind the lower adoption of EVs. While some companies are in a wait and watch mode, a few others have taken the hybrid route to green mobility. Only a few companies currently sell electric cars in the country.
Homegrown Tata Motors is one company that has taken the lead in the passenger EV market. After launching the Nexon EV and the Tigor EV, it is now launching its Tiago hatchback in electric form. Not only will this be the first mainstream electric hatchback in the country, it will also be the most affordable EV in the market.
The Tiago EV has been priced aggressively; it starts at Rs 8.49 lakh ex-showroom, going up to Rs 11.79 lakh. Despite being competitively priced, it is equipped with a lot of features, including connected car tech, hill start and descent, cruise control, push-button start and stop rain sensing wipers and multi-mode regeneration. Considering it is based on the Tiago hatchback, which has a 4-star global NCAP rating, the Tiago EV should also be safe.
The Tiago EV will come with two battery options – a 24 kWh battery pack, which delivers a MIDC (modified Indian driving cycle) range of 315 km and a 19.2 kWh battery pack, with an estimated range of 250 km.
Tata Motors has provided multiple options to charge the Tiago EV. You could either plug in to a 15A plug point, a standard 3.3 kW AC charger, a 7.2 kW AC home fast charger or DC fast charging.
Charging via a DC fast charger will top up the battery from 10 per cent to 80 per cent in 57 minutes, while you charge the battery fully from 10 per cent to 100 per cent in 3.36 hours via the 7.2 kW AC home fast charger.
While bookings for the Tiago EV begin from October 10, deliveries are scheduled from January 2023.
Tata Motors is already a market leader in India’s passenger EV market, with sales of over 45,000 units thus far. Year-to-date its market share is close to 89 per cent. The Tiago EV should give electric car market a further momentum.
“With an aim to make our EVs more accessible, with this launch, we are entering 80 new cities, expanding our network to more than 165 cities. We are confident that this move will help more and more customers embrace EVs as their preferred mode for personal mobility,” said Shailesh Chandra, managing director, Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles and Tata Passenger Electric Mobility.
By 2026, the company will have a portfolio of 10 EVs.
Tata Motors is also expanding the charging infra. There are already 3,000 plus public charging points. The company has also installed over 200 society chargers in three cities and is looking to expand this to more cities soon and set up more chargers in societies, considering that most people charge their vehicles at their home.
Electric car options in the market are increasing. Recently, Mahindra and Mahindra had unveiled the XUV 400 EV in the country.
Increasing options should help increase customer interest towards EVs. However, consulting firm Arthur D. Little has flagged import dependence for Li-ion cells for EV batteries as a key challenge for the electric mobility industry in India.
“India’s EV dream faces a multitude of challenges, and high import dependence for Li-ion cells is the most significant one. With very limited domestic production of Li-ion cells, Indian OEMs and ultimately customers must pay higher prices, as battery constitutes 40 per cent of the total EV cost. This makes the entire EV industry highly vulnerable to global supply chain disruptions,” it said on Wednesday.
Arthur. D Little estimates that by 2030, India will need an estimated $10 billion plus investment in cell manufacturing, just to serve the local battery demand.
It says a collaborative approach between the government and industry is the way forward for building a local supply chain for batteries and making India an export hub.
“Comprehensive policies from the government that encompass the complete battery value chain – from acquisition of natural resources to recycling of batteries – will go a long way in providing a necessary push to the industry,” the consulting firm said.