Pune-based automotive major and India's largest van manufacturer Force Motors has revealed the country’s first shared mobility platform designed and developed for both internal combustion engines and 100% electric drive.
Work on the project – codenamed T1N – began four years ago with a dedicated team of 150 engineers and with the objective to develop a world-class, shared mobility platform that would be way ahead of current offerings and raise the bar in terms of passenger comfort, convenience and safety to global standards. The all new monocoque platform, for both diesel and electric entailed an investment of Rs 1000 crore. T1N is Force Motors' first all new platform in 30 years and has 85 suppliers.
Big on safety
The T1N is the first vehicle in this category in the country offering crash and rollover compliance with airbags for driver and co-driver even though current Indian legislation does not mandate them. In addition, T1N comes with large ventilated disc brakes on all four wheels with ABS, EBD, EDTC and ESP offering unmatched safety for its passengers.
Targeting global sales
The T1N has been developed with global aspirations, it is design protected for plying in select markets of Middle East, Africa, ASEAN and South America where the T1N is expected to be an excellent value proposition compared to high premium products from Europe, Far East and USA.
A dedicated and exclusive team of about 100 young specialist engineers and senior managers, who were experts in their respective domains, were selected for this project by Force Motors. This team after doing benchmarking studies with domestic and international offerings developed and engineered the concept of this new platform.
Force Motors T1N development team then consulted with leading technology specialists, domain experts across the globe, in Italy, Spain, UK, Germany, Japan, USA to improve, refine and validate the platform to match international performance expectations.
Force Motors says, "The T1N with its next generation, international styling and body design is in a class by itself and in the same league as leading international offerings. The looks are further enhanced by first-in-segment signature day running LEDs, projector lamps and tail-lamps with light guide technology, all making it a head-turner."
It goes on to reflect the company's vision of having an international presence. The T1N platform has been designed with a 2-box construction keeping the engine fully outside ensuring least NVH in passenger compartment. For the first time in this segment independent front suspension with transverse parabolic springs has been offered, giving it best in class ride quality. The global market size is around 300,000 units of such vans annually.
Diesel and CNG powertrains
T1N is powered by a new and more powerful BS VI-compliant, Common Rail Diesel engine, offering peak torque of 350Nm. The platform will also offer BS VI CNG variant as also a class leading full electric version.
This new platform is underdoing final validation and homologation processes. A new state-of-the-art facility, with body shop with robotic and laser welding facilities is being set up at the Pithampur works. These vehicles would be showcased at the forthcoming Delhi Auto Expo 2020. It is expected to be available for sale by the end of the year. The electric variant is likely to be available by 2022.
Speaking on the occasion, Prasan Firodia, Managing Director, Force Motors told Autocar Professional, “The platform is modular so it allows us to create different variants." He further said, "As segment leaders, we considered it our duty to offer our customers not just what they need but what they aspire for, and hence we set about developing this truly world class, next-generation platform packaging leading edge technologies in every aspect. We are confident our customers will welcome it.”
Abhay Firodia, chairman, Force Motors told Autocar Professional that, "It's an important step in the evolution. If you compared our three-wheeler to our Matador, it was a big step, and the Matador to the Traveller was as big a step. And from the Traveller range of products to this platform is also an equally big step."
This publication was the first to report about Force Motors' developing an electric vehicle in October 2017.