Tata Motors is readying a major upgrade to its Nexon EV in the first half of 2022, which will include a larger battery and increased range. The longer-range Nexon, which is expected to come with a bigger 40kWh battery, will sell alongside the current Nexon EV, which has cornered the nascent EV market in India and accounts for around 60 percent of all electric cars sold in India.
The key to the Nexon EV’s success has been the car’s finely judged ‘price-to-range’ ratio which has hit a sweet spot among buyers. Though the current Nexon has the smallest battery (30.2kWh) and subsequently the lowest range compared to its rivals, it is substantially cheaper and, for most EV buyers, it’s the price that matters more than the range. Early adopters are using EVs as a second or third car and mainly as a city runabout, where its real world range of 180-200km is not a deterrent.
However, with EVs gaining popularity and charging infrastructure steadily improving, electric car owners are venturing beyond city limits and want more range as charging points are still far and few in between. Feedback from existing Nexon EV owners suggests that there is an increasing trend for outstation trips in EVs, which makes range critical. This has prompted Tata Motors to introduce a longer-range version of the electric SUV.
What’s new in the long-range Nexon EV?
The long-range Nexon EV will get an upgraded battery pack of 40kWh capacity, a significant 30 percent increase from the current model’s 30.2kWh version. Modifications to the floor pan have been carried out and boot space too is believed to have been sacrificed, to accommodate the larger battery. Weight, too, is expected to have increased by an estimated 100kg.
The higher capacity battery will boost range to over 400km on the official test cycle whilst a real-world range in the region of 300-320km can be expected on a single charge. This would take the fight head on against the MG ZS EV and Hyundai Kona EV which offer similar range.
Another major addition to the new Nexon EV will be selectable re-gen modes which will allow the driver to adjust the intensity of the regenerative braking, which in turn, improves range. Currently, the regen is not adjustable on the Nexon EV and is quite mild. Expect a few cosmetic tweaks, a fresher set of alloy wheels and, according to sources, the addition of Electronic Stability Program (ESP). All these upgrades, especially the larger battery will certainly push up the costs by an estimated Rs 300,000-Rs 400,000. However, with an estimated price of around Rs 17 lakh-18 lakh, the Nexon EV will still undercut its rivals, especially the pricey Kona EV, which is slated to make a comeback next year.
Tata Motors has aggressive plans to build on the early lead it has taken in the EV race. The company recently raised Rs 7,500 crore from investment firms for an 11-15 percent stake in its new EV entity, Tata Passenger Electric Mobility. This new subsidiary, incorporated with a capital of Rs 700 crore, “will design, develop and manufacture all kinds of services related to EVs and e-mobility” according to the company.
Tata Motors has also confirmed that it will bring in longer-range EVs as part of its strategy, which envisages a portfolio of 10 EVs by 2026, including the long range Nexon EV.
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