Tata unveils the electric Ace

by Shahkar Abidi 05 May 2022


Tata Motors has unveiled an electric version of its Ace small commercial vehicle (SCV) and hopes to deliver 39,000 units to  eight e-commerce and logistics companies with which it has signed a memoranda of understanding.

Among these are Amazon, Flipkart, BigBasket, Dot, Lets Transport, Yelo, Moving, City Link amongst others, which signed the agreements during an event held in Mumbai on Thursday.

The company will also set up dedicated electric vehicle support centres for these new customers who will also be able to access the Tata Fleet Edge, a fleet management solution and Tata UniEVerse, an group eco-system to support customers who buy Tata’s EV products. The e-ACE's price will be revealed at the time of its launch, the company said.

Girish Wagh, Executive Director, Tata Motors said, " Our orders for electric Ace total about 39000.”  The ACE which was launched in 2005 currently holds a market penetration level of around 70 percent in the four wheeler segment. 

While the individual orders for the companies was not revealed, the development should be seen in context of the boom  that India's e-commerce and logistics sector has been witnessing in the past few years, including during the pandemic. The three and four- wheeler cargo segments are expected to be the first to transition to electric as companies try to cut the total costs of ownership in the background of high diesel prices.

For instance, while  Flipkart, now owned by US retail giant Walmart, is looking to transition to a 100 percent EV fleet of 25,000  units by 2030,  Amazon recently tied up with Sun Mobility to roll out its 10000th e-cargo vehicles. Similar is the case with the logistics sector with companies like Adani Logistics entering this space. The logistics sector is expected to grow by $ 380 billion by 2025 of which last mile connectivity is a significant part of it. 

N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons and Tata Motors who was also present at the event said, " The opportunity is huge ''. He added that the electrification of commercial vehicles will be extended to other vehicles in future  including  for exports. “With the launch of the Ace EV, we are entering a new era of e-cargo mobility. The  Ace has revolutionised transportation and created millions of successful entrepreneurs over the years and its electric version will build on this legacy,” he added.

According to Tata, the  Ace EV is the first product featuring its Evogen powertrain that offers a certified range of 154 kilometres. It delivers a safe, all-weather operation with an advanced battery cooling system and regenerative braking system to boost the driving range and allows regular and fast charging capabilities for high uptime, the company said in a press note.

Under the hood, the electric Ace is powered by a  27kW (36hp) motor with 130 Nm of peak torque, to ensure highest cargo volume of 208 cubic feet and grade-ability of 22 percent allowing easy ascend in fully loaded conditions. The Ace EV’s container is made of light-weight, durable materials. The  new Ace EV, co-developed in  collaboration with its users and supported by the ecosystem supported by other Tata Group companies. 

Wagh of Tata Motors added that the introduction of the Ace EV marks a major milestone in the company’s journey to deliver zero-emission cargo mobility in India. "Building on our experience and success with electric buses, we have designed use-case specific EV solutions for intra-city distribution. These solutions effectively cater to a variety of needs,” he said.

“We are very encouraged with the support and response received from our e-commerce customers, with whom we begin this journey of zero-emission cargo mobility,” he said. Talking about potential export orders,  Wagh noted that most of the companies with whom MoU have been signed also have operational footprints in other countries. "Once the vehicle is accepted here, it is likely that it may be used in other markets as well,” he signed off. 

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