Will Comet revolutionise India’s electric car market?

Will it go dud like what eventually happened to the Tata Nano?

comet Rajeev Chaba, President and Managing Director, MG Motors

As far as first impressions go, the resemblance is uncanny. MG Motor India’s latest launch, Comet EV looks boxy enough to pass off as an upgraded version of the Tata Nano, the most affordable Indian car ever. 

The similarities don’t end there. Like Nano, the Comet, officially launched Wednesday afternoon in the country, will also be the cheapest car in the Indian market, albeit, in the electric vehicle (EV) segment.

The invariable question is simply this – will MG Comet electrify the EV market, and will it go dud like what eventually happened to the Tata Nano?

Comet is the second electric car from MG Motor, but compared to the earlier ZS, or even any of the other electric cars in the Indian market right now, will be the most affordable, at an introductory price of Rs 7.98 lakh, ex-showroom. Bookings start from May 15.

The least expensive electric car presently in the market is Tata’s Tiago, with prices starting at 8.69 lahks. Eas-E, an electric four-wheeler from a Mumbai start-up did announce a price of 4.79 lakh rupees recently, but it is a micro-car and can accommodate only two passengers.

MG Motor India president and managing director Rajeev Chaba called the launch of Comet a “pivotal moment in the evolution of urban mobility.” 

“The Comet is more than just a car; it represents our determination to change the way we commute in our cities,” he said, adding, “The future of mobility is electric and connected (and) we aim to empower our customers to make a smart choice without compromising on style or convenience.”

The car does stand out with its small, boxy, yet radically young looks. Though a two-door vehicle, the car can accommodate a driver and at least three other passengers, and has a minimalist, yet funky, interior design that reminded some of the Apple iPod’s rotary dials. 

Targetted firmly at the urban youth demographics that are concerned about their carbon footprint but could not afford the pricier electric four-wheeler models in the market so far, Comet checks all the boxes when it comes to design, cool quotient (it comes with optional stickers to give a car a funky exterior design), internet connectivity and of course, affordability. In fact, MG officials pegged the monthly charging cost of the car at just 519 rupees per thousand kilometres, or, as they put it, “the cost of two cups of coffee.” It comes with a certified range of 230 kilometres per full charge.

The multi-million dollar question, of course, is whether the young customers will bite. While e-scooters from the likes of Ather, Hero Electric and Ola have made a mark in the electric two-wheeler segment in the country, the wait had continued for a sub-10 lakh rupee electric car that will stir up the Indian car buyer leading to that decisive shift to electric. The question is, is Comet it? 

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