Tata Tech & GKN Auto to develop e-powertrain for next-gen EVs

Tata Technologies and GKN Automotive announced the opening of an advanced, global e-mobility software engineering center in Bengaluru this week. Tata Technologies is a global engineering and product development digital services company whereas GKN specializes in driveline systems and advanced ePowertrain technologies.

Final Tata HBX Electric render front
The Indian passenger car market will see the launch of at least 6 affordable EVs within 24 months.

The partnership announced that the center will use Tata Technologies’ expertise in electric and embedded systems, including its ability to attract software engineering talent to work on GKN’s next generation e-Drive technologies. The center aims to house 100 engineers and support staff by the end of 2020. The advanced ePowertrain technologies will be used by global auto manufacturers for “next-generation electric vehicles”, the companies said.

The center is spread across 12,650 sq.ft and houses a design studio, lab stations, meeting and conference rooms. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the center was completed within 6 months, and will open in phases.

In 2019, sales of electric cars hit 2.1 million units globally, accounting for 2.6 per cent of global car sales and 1 per cent of global car stock, a remarkable 40 per cent year-on-year increase. During the start of the decade, in 2010, only 17,000 electric cars were on the roads, a number which in 2019 stood at 7.2 million. 47 per cent of these electric cars were in China though.

Still, according to analysts, where the global passenger car market is expected to shrink this year owing to the pandemic by 15 per cent, sales of electric cars and light duty vehicles are expected to be largely unchanged from 2019 levels, which would increase their contribution to 3 per cent of global car sales.

Tesla Narendra Modi Elon Musk meet 2015
Given the potential of the market, Tesla says it will enter India in 2021.

Going forth, the future of electric two and three wheelers are expected to account for the major part of electric vehicle sales. This future, as per analysts, is largely concentrated in China, India and 10 other ASEAN countries.

Manufacturers have taken cognizance of these facts, and are working to introduce electric vehicles at record pace. In the passenger car segment, the next 18-24 months will see at least six manufacturers launch affordable electric vehicles. The list includes home-grown automakers Tata, Mahindra and Maruti which are looking at introducing electric vehicles on crossover bodystyles.

The government push to keep GST on electric vehicles at 5 per cent, state government subsidy, and incentives on interest payment towards loan taken for buying EVs, are encouraging consumers to enquire about electric alternatives. Foreign manufacturers including Volvo and Mercedes Benz are considering localizing electric vehicles in the country to further create an accessible price.