Dilip Chabbria, the founder of DC Design (now DC2) has not one but two vehicles in the pipeline for 2021. Earlier in the month we spoke to him to get information on the DC2 e Amby, an electric vehicle that is inspired by the Ambassador, due next year.
In a chat with Sirish Chandran on Evo India’s Instagram.com channel, Chhabria said that the company hadn’t given up on the DC Avanti just yet and the car will be reinvented as a pure electric TCA next year with some serious specs:
On the TCA, the successor to the DC Avanti, getting an electric powertrain
DC: The TCA (Short for ‘Titanium, Carbon and Aluminium’), which we displayed at the Auto Expo 2018, is the successor to the Avanti and this is electrified at this point of time. With the Avanti, when we launched it, we were the pioneers. There was some learning that power could be one issue because it was 260 hp. But having sold over 200 cars, I can tell you power is never the issue and not one customer has a problem with power. The problem is of the automatic transmission. Across the world, people ask for automatic transmission in sports cars. I thought the manual transmission would’ve been a boon to the Avanti but I think because it was the first time somebody was selling a sports car (with a manual transmission) in India and categorized in the Rs 30-40 lakh (price range). We got the feedback that customers are talking about how there is no manual transmission car in that category.
By the time Avanti hit the road in 2015, the electric scenario sprung up and the government announced sweeping reforms (thereafter). The Avanti attracted 53 per cent of GST and an electric Avanti would have got only 5 per cent GST. The thrill of power you get with an electric car and the cost being actually lower or even if it’s the same, it makes more sense to put electrics in a sports car. We can only recover our project cost from exporting across the world. There is not such a big market for electric cars in India as we thought. We spent 200 crores of our money in this project and obviously we need to recover it. The only way to recover it is to electrify our sports car and if you can sell it at a much lesser price than the other electric sports cars, which are still in the region of $80,000 to $90,000 (Rs 60.80 lakh to Rs 68.50 lakh).
Video walkaround courtesy: Namaste Car Youtube channel
On the target price for the electrified TCA
DC: Rs 40 lakhs.
Performance target for the DC Avanti electric
DC: The car is now being developed by a company in Switzerland. It’s got a 160 kWh battery, which I’m told is very powerful. It should do 0 to 100 km/h in 4 seconds but the company is being conservative and is putting 5.5 seconds on paper.
On when the TCA will hit the road
DC: I don’t know what the world’s state is going to be. As far as the chassis and the body is concerned, we are ready apart from the tooling of the headlamp, tail lamps and things like that. But I would presume a year and half from now. Right now, we are not under pressure at all. What happened in the Avanti when we launched it at the Auto Expo 2012, Mr Amitabh Bachchan unveiled the car, and we announced to the world at large that it will be available at Rs 25 lakh and we got 80 bookings at the expo itself before we wound up. That put a lot of pressure on us because we have accepted the bookings, cashed the cheques and had given them a target time. And you are forced to do things to protect your credibility.
There are no such issues here as we have learnt our lessons and we said let us take our own time. Let’s do a great car because sports cars are going to be a fact of life in every market in the world. For example, if we sell less than 300 cars in Europe and less than 150 cars in America, it doesn’t even have to qualify for crash (test regulations). Those kinds of opportunities are going to come. I believe with this lockdown across the world, businesses are going to undergo a big change from the government’s ability to give the entrepreneurs leeway to get going. The strict regulations that they had will be relaxed in order for the local industries to get back on track.
It’s going to be three or four months time before we understand what’s happening. One thing is clear – our design capabilities are well noted by one and all across the world. Production in India at $15 an hour versus $80 an hour – nobody can rob that away from us.