'In five years, Tata Motors should have 10 EVs': Shailesh Chandra, MD

Will invest $2 billion in EVs in five years, Chandra says

55-Shailesh-Chandra Shailesh Chandra | Amey Mansabdar

Are EVs going to be a dominant theme now for Tata Motors?

Absolutely. In the automotive world, Europe and the UK have already defined timelines to move to full-electric, to the extent of defining that even hybrids can’t be sold. While India has a longer timeframe for net carbon zero, in a new technology world we are no more in an era where something gets developed in Europe or a developed country and comes after 10 or 12 years to India.

If 30 per cent also of the Indian market becomes electric, by 2030, you can imagine an automobile market of six million units, and [an EV market of] nearly two million. It is a big market. So you have to start capturing this as much as possible. It makes sense therefore to put your resources on the electric side.

We had a challenge earlier, that how do we fund ICEs and EVs by generating funds from only the ICE, because that is predominant. We have resolved that by splitting the company into two and getting $1 billion from an external investor. That fund will support EV growth aggressively and ICE will be self sufficient.

What is the kind of investment Tata Motors is looking at in Evs?

In electric vehicles, we have followed a three generation approach, and it is in sync with how the overall market is evolving and how the battery prices are also evolving. The Nexon EV, the Tigor EV and even the Tiago EV are generation one products, where we are taking the advantage of current strong ICE brands to come with conversion kits. It has enabled us to come quick to the market, but at the same time it has helped attract people towards electric vehicle as a new technology. Generation two product modifies the current ICE architectures in a manner that it is more electric-ready, meaning that it can accommodate more battery for a higher range delivery. As the battery prices further come down, you get the opportunity to give higher range and completely take away range anxiety. That is where it starts making sense to invest in a pure EV architecture. The biggest advantage of a pure EV architecture is that it gives you freedom to create more space and design your architecture around batteries and electrical components.

Work in all these three generations is happening parallelly. All these three generations will exist together at any point in time, because this will enable us to come with products in different body styles with different range points and different affordability levels. Our target is that in the next five years, we should have a portfolio of 10 EVs. Over the next five years, in electric vehicles we will be investing nearly $2 billion in not only these 10 products, but also on the underlying technologies.

How are you leveraging the strengths of Jaguar Land Rover in future products, including Evs?

There is an asset of JLR and there is knowledge. Harrier and Safari are examples where we took the asset and did the whole engineering ourselves to make it India-ready. We have been actively using knowledge on our electrification journey. Even when we were developing the Nexon EV, we had gone there with our designs, sat with their engineers and it really helped us a lot to create a very mature product. They also test with us. We are also accumulating mileage. When they are expanding in extreme weather conditions, they check with us. So, knowledge sharing is active. On the asset side, we are actively looking into new technology areas.

How did you manage the semiconductor crisis?

The semiconductor situation has definitely improved. But, there are still certain components where we struggle. We have taken enough action to mitigate the risk of semiconductor supplies. And similar actions have been taken across the industry. Broadly, in this quarter, you will see that the industry is going to hit nearly one million. That has never happened in the past, which is an indication that even if there is residual stress left in the semiconductor situation, people have found alternatives to deal with that.