Tata Motors has been expecting to have 10,000 electric vehicles sales every month, as it expands the lineup to over half a dozen vehicles in the next year.
The company which achieved a milestone of 1 lakh units in the last 5 years, expects to bring in the next 1 lakh units in the next 12-14 months, said the company’s senior executive.
Celebrating the 1 lakh unit milestone, Shailesh Chandra, MD of Tata Passenger Electric Mobility commented, “The first 10,000 units would have taken us nearly 44 months. Then 50,000 took us an additional 15 months (10,000 to 50,000), and the next 50,000 happened in 9 months. Now the next 1 lakh, I think should happen in 12-14 months, is what I would expect.”
Tata Motors sold about 19,000 electric vehicles in the Q1 of FY24 and the company’s Group CFO P B Balaji said the company is on the path to an annual volume of 1 lakh electric vehicles, post the Q1 earnings call.
Tata Motors which started seeding EVs in key markets to begin with, has already penetrated over 130 cities with more than 250 dealers. In the last five years, over 6,500 public chargers have come up, which is moving to 10,000 chargers. There are chargers being set up at 1,500 residential complexes with 1 lakh home chargers already installed.
With the introduction of Tiago EV, the penetration of zero-emission vehicles accelerated to 14-15% of its total sales, the company has set a vision of 50% penetration by 2030.
The chairman of the company N Chandrasekaran told shareholders earlier in the week that the company will be launching four new electric vehicles in the next few quarters. This is set to expand the price point from Rs 8.5 lakh with Tiago EV at the entry-level, to the Rs 30 lakh Harrier EV at the top, with the Punch EV, Nexon EV, and Curvv EV making up the core of the EV market sandwiching them.
The management sees the journey as a transformational one, given the fact that when the company kicked off its EV business, the vendors didn’t believe them, customers felt that the EVs were the cars for the future and there were hardly any players to invest in infrastructure.
“When we entered the market, there were no enablers, the market was not ready for electrification, but as a Group we took a bet, given the challenges of pollution, climate change, and higher dependence on imports. And the bet has paid off. Today the suppliers want to invest, the customer mindset has transformed faster than we thought and the charging infrastructure came up faster than expected,” recalled Chandra on the EV journey.
He said it was a gamble, but a calculated one at that, with a mitigation strategy of introducing an electric powertrain through 3 different interventions – gen-1 based on existing vehicle architecture, gen-2 adapting new gen architecture to accommodate both ICE and EV powertrain and gen 3 – born EV skateboard architecture.
“This allowed us to launch EVs at almost 1/10th the cost, while gaining market insights,” Chandra said.
But these learnings came by addressing niggling issues. Since it is a new technology in a new environment, Chandra admitted, Tata Motors faced certain problems and so did its customers.
“We did have some niggling problems, but the idea was that we respond to those problems fast and do the root cause analysis, doing combinations of immediate corrective actions and permanent corrective actions, and today the technology has matured a lot. There are lesser problems today than we see,” he added.
Tata Motors has committed to invest US$2 billion in the EV business, from 2022, over a period of five years.