Tata Motors' all-electric Nexon is on a roll. The eco-friendly compact SUV has topped electric passenger vehicle sales in India for FY2021. With a total of 3,805 units sold in the last fiscal (11 months only, April 2020 being a zero production and sales month), the Nexon EV accounts for an overwhelming 64.43% of total electric passenger vehicle (e-PV) sales in the country.
With this, cumulative sales of the Nexon EV since its launch are 4,091 units. Launched on January 28, 2020, the eco-friendly compact SUV has seen rapid consumer acceptance. It had crossed the 1,000 mark on August 18, seven months after rollout, the 2,000-unit mark in 10 months on December 2, 2020, and has crossed the 4,000 mark by end-March 2021, 14 months after launch. On March 23, the Tata Nexon EV was voted the ‘Green Car of the Year’ at the 2021 Autocar Awards.
What has worked in the Nexon EV’s favour, besides its SUV appeal, are its sorted fundamentals and a value-for-money price tag that undercuts other EVs by over Rs 700,000. In the past year, Tata Motors has tweaked certain aspects of the vehicle after analysing the driving behaviour of several EV users, and incorporated relevant customer feedback in its latest software update to make the Nexon EV’s drive experience smoother and the car more user friendly.
The Nexon EV and the MG ZS EV are leading the electric charge in India.
At No. 2 is MG Motor India’s ZS EV with 1,499 units. In February, the company launched the 2021 MG ZS EV with prices starting at Rs 20.99 lakh and going up to Rs 24.18 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The 2021 model gets updates under the skin with no changes to the cosmetics or equipment list. The biggest change is the new 44.5kWh ‘Hi-tech’ battery pack which MG says increases the ZS EV’s range to a claimed 419km (iCAT) – up from the 340km (ARAI) offered by the older 44.5kWh pack in the 2020 model. The carmaker says that one could expect real world range of 300-400km on a single charge “in most conditions”. There is no change to the electric motor’s output which continues to develop 143hp and 353Nm.
MG has been expanding the model’s availability and the 2021 ZS EV will be available in 31 cities across India.
At third and fourth place are the Tata Tigor and the Hyundai Kona with 411 units and 180 units respectively.
The charge of the electric SUV
In line with the trend in IC-engined PVs, there is a surge in demand for electric SUVs. Of the total 5,905 electric PVs sold in FY2021, the Nexo, ZS EV and Kona account for 93%, the balance 7% left to the Tata Tigor. Not surprisingly, this is reflected in the share of electric SUVs to total UVs (10,60,750 units in FY2021) growing to 0.52% from 0.10% a year ago.
In contrast, demand for electric cars is dropping. From 1,877 units sold in FY2020 to 421 units in FY2021, there has been a sales decline of 78% YoY. Their share in total passenger cars (15,41,866 units in FY2021) has also dropped from 0.11% to 0.003%
UV sales in India cross a million units for the first time in a year