Electric cars are all the buzz right now despite the pandemic, at least at Tata Motors. The company just rolled out the 1,000th Tata Nexon EV and is confident about a positive momentum from private customer demand for its electric cars in India.
In an interview with ET Auto recently on Youtube.com, Shailesh Chandra, President, Tata Motors (Passenger Vehicles), was talking about how the COVID-19 outbreak has affected the EV business. After classifying its EV customers into three segments, he indicated that while sales to one of these customer segments are in trouble right now, private customers are continuing to show strong demand for EVs. Below is what he said:
Personal segment of EVs are going very strong. You would have heard the announcement of 1,000 Nexon EVs that we have rolled on back of the personal segment. Year-to-date in this financial year, the EV segment has grown, but not all. It is primarily being driven by the personal segment. There is an impact in one segment which is very drastic, whereas personal segment, because of the choices now which are available, is going strong.
The customer segment in which Chandra said that the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak is “drastic” is fleet. The Tata Tigor EV is the model the company is targeting largely at fleet customers and it’s difficult to push its sales right now because of various reasons. Below is how Chandra explained the same:
Fleet has got deeply impacted, as you know fleets were mainly catering to the employee transport segment and the e-mobility services companies. With work from home segment, I think employee transport segment has very low utilisation of the current fleet which is serving it. As far as e-mobility services companies are concerned, they are also not able to utilise their current fleet. So this has absolutely crashed.
The third customer segment is the Indian government. In fact, this was the very customer segment with which Tata Motors began its EV journey in December 2017. Strangely enough, even two years later, its very first customer segment remains virtually untapped. The Tata Tigor EV faced some hurdles due to low range initially. The company addressed this issue with the release of an extended range variant at the time when it started selling the car to private customers (October 2019).
Long-range EVs like the Tata Nexon EV that is already on sale and the Tata Altroz EV due next year are likely to get the attention of government back. Just earlier this month, EESL placed an order for 150 units of the Tata Nexon EV.
Government has not started buying, and we are seeing some traction coming there. You would have seen recently the announcement of EESL that happened for Nexon EVs (150 units ordered).
Tata Motors is aggressively working on expanding its EV line-up. The company will launch the Tata Altroz EV in 2021 and the Tata HBX EV in 2022. Also in the pipeline is the new Tata Tigor EV (facelift) in the coming months.