'People are willing to pay 1.2 to 1.3 times the price of an ICE vehicle for an EV': Anand Kulkarni

Tata Motors is leveraging platform commonality and volume bundling in certain components to become cost-effective in its electric vehicle offerings.

By Shruti Mishra calendar 30 Nov 2022 Views icon14914 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

With price being the biggest challenge in front of OEMs when it comes to positioning their electric vehicles (EVs) over the internal-combustion engine (ICE) counterparts, homegrown carmaker Tata Motors has been able to crack the code to an extent with its Nexon EV taking the No. 1 spot in the country’s passenger-electric segment, which has now also seen the entry of the Tata Tiago EV – India’s most-affordable EV.

“When looking at the right price-to-value equation, we must understand the usage patterns of consumers. People are primarily using EVs within cities, and trip distances are around 10km on an average. They tend to make around 5-7 such trips on a daily basis, as per data accumulated by Tata Motors,” said Anand Kulkarni, Product Line Head and VP, Passenger Electric Vehicles, Tata Motors.

Kulkarni was part of a panel discussion on the topic ‘Decoding the affordability challenge’ at the Autocar Professional EV Forum (Passenger Vehicles) conducted on November 28-29 and said that the second use case of EVs is on the highways where these cars are clocking 120km-180km on an average. “Therefore, about 200km of range can be considered to be the sweet spot and be most useful in India’s current driving applications,” Kulkarni said.

“We have also noticed that the price differential that people are willing to pay is 1.2-to-1.3 times the ICE vehicle. So, if the industry can offer a product meeting these requirements at such price points, the EV will be a useful proposition for most customers,” he added.

Kulkarni emphasised proper research and product planning as the key to crack this code, and shared an anecdote that Tata Motors had internally codenamed its latest and presently India’s most-affordable EV – the Tiago EV - as ‘The Challenger.’

“It forced us to look at the paradigms as to how we would conceptualise the product,” he reminisced.

Kulkarni explained that there were a lot of levers available for the company, such as the capacity utilisation due to the existing ICE platform on which the Tiago EV is based upon. “Important parameters to save upon costs are having supplier-driven ideas, platform commonality and volume bundling in certain components,” he shared.

“EVs offer opportunities in terms of being able to have the choice of bundling some features either within or outside the battery pack, and we explored each one of those options to arrive at the right decisions related to the value being offered with the Tiago EV,” Kulkarni added.

The early adopters of electrification have been those who are drawn in by the unbeatable running costs as well as people who are passionate about the environment. There are other virtues such as smooth and vibration-free drive, spirited performance, and instantaneous torque availability – which are enough to convince customers towards buying EVs.”

“About 25% of the booking interests of the Nexon and Tigor models are coming for electric variants. We are delivering 17-18% of Nexons and Tigors in their electrified forms,” Kulkarni highlighted. 

He also said that at present the Indian consumer has a diverse portfolio of EVs to pick from. “When a wider range of EVs becomes available to the consumers, it is easy for the market to achieve more than 20 percent penetration levels relatively easily, and I think those initial barriers are fast fading off,” Kulkarni signed off. 

Watch Day 1 of Autocar Professional EV Forum:

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