Tata’s Charging Up

Tata Motors will continue to lead electrification in India’s automobile industry and aim to take its electric vehicles to global markets, leveraging the strength of a conglomerate that is getting also into local manufacturing of battery cells and semiconductors, Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran said.

Tata Motors, which has committed to investing $2 billion in the EV sector, will use its new Gen-3 platform to make electric vehicles for the global markets.

On Friday, Chandrasekaran unveiled a concept electric car, Avinya, based on the Gen-3 platform.

The company is working on enhancing vertical integration within the group to drive the electrification of vehicles. Under the ‘One Tata’ approach, already group companies like Tata Power, Tata AutoComp, Tata Elxsi and Tata Technologies contribute significantly towards Tata Motors’ EV plans. Very soon, the group will announce a battery and cell localisation plan.

“We have pivoted towards e-mobility; we truly believe that the world needs smart solutions. We brought the power of the group to launch our first EV — since then we have made tremendous progress in Gen 1 and Gen 2; today we are very proud to present the Gen 3 platform,” the chairman said.

“We are very much interested in the battery; we have finalised the plans. We will be launching our initiatives to produce batteries very soon,” Chandrasekaran added.

The Gen-3 platform will exclusively be for electric vehicles, and these products will be for both global and Indian markets. The first vehicle on the new platform is likely to be launched after 2025. “We are designing this car with a global benchmark; I see enormous possibilities to go global. We produce the best software, if we produce the best software, if we can focus on the best electrical and electronic platform, we can deliver a very good car,” the chairman said.

With emission standards getting stricter around the world, getting investment in internal combustion engines would be very difficult, so “EVs will be a right alternative (to expand globally)”,Chandrasekaran said.

Speaking to media persons on the sidelines of the unveiling of the concept vehicle, the chairman of the salt-to-software conglomerate expressed respect towards Maruti Suzuki and, on the global presence, he admitted that Tata Motors was “not yet there”.

While Maruti is the market leader, the manufacturer of the Tata Safari and Tata Nexon is the third largest. Tata Motors has captured market share by outpacing the industry in the past couple of years in sales growth. EVs have been a significant contributor to its sales volume.

“We are very conscious. We have an important job on hand. We are very happy with the progress over the last few years,” Chandrasekaran said. “We can see the possibility of being global. We have an aspiration, but we have to take a couple of right steps beforehand. ”

The company will try to achieve the target of EVs accounting for 30% of its sales volume much faster than the end of the decade, he said.

Chandrasekaran said when the EV plan was made, the company had a small market share and it had to make a big leap.“To be very frank, we had to pivot, we had gone down to 4-5% market share. My view was we should not play a catch-up game; we said we will go all in,” he said. “We have made all the strategic investments that are necessary, not only to accelerate the (EV) adoption but to lead this whole movement,” he added.

Apart from EVs, the chairman said there was a significant amount of work going on in the autonomous car technology, fuel cell vehicles for the commercial vehicle segment and connected car solutions, which would drive the future EV adoption.

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