Tata Motors to modify Ford’s Sanand plant to produce Avinya-based EVs
The Indian carmaker also aims to localise Jaguar Land Rover’s EMA born-electric platform which will spawn a series of new models based on its Avinya EV concept, in the country, and leverage economies of scale for aligned component sourcing with its European subsidiary.
Tata Motors, which, with its EV arm – Tata Passenger Electric Mobility (TPEM) – has signed an MoU with Jaguar Land Rover to leverage the latter’s EMA or Electric Modular Architecture born-electric platform to underpin a series of its upcoming EVs based on the Avinya EV concept, will manufacture these premium all-electric models at Sanand, Gujarat.
The company, through TPEM, had acquired Ford India’s 300,000-unit Sanand manufacturing facility in August 2022 for Rs 725.7 crore after the American carmaker’s India exit in 2021, and plans to make suitable modifications to the existing setup which includes machinery and equipment, to produce BEVs of various proportions.
“Any manufacturing setup is governed by the vehicle footprint, including its length, width, and body weight. The EMA platform supports vehicles of large dimensions and therefore, one would need to ensure that it can go into a manufacturing facility capable of doing that.
“Our second site, which we took over from Ford India, in Sanand, and which was already capable of manufacturing larger vehicles (by Ford), automatically comes in handy and becomes useful for us to produce such EVs from there. We will make necessary adjustments and changes to ensure that it comes into play for our Avinya series,” Anand Kulkarni, Chief Product Officer, and Head of High-Voltage Programs, TPEM, said in a virtual media interaction.
Tata Motors showcased the Avinya as a flagship, ground-up EVin April 2022, and its latest announcement to license its European subsidiary JLR’s EMA platform has also been long under consideration. According to Kulkarni, “While we have only announced it now, there has been a lot of evaluation for quite some time. We have been evaluating multiple options based on various technological parameters, but the JLR platform best suits our requirements.
“Moreover, the MoU also brings JLR’s support to us in terms of manufacturing expertise, which would be a complementary benefit at the Sanand-II site in ensuring giving a home to the Avinya series in a seamless manner,” Kulkarni added.
Eyeing aligned sourcing, localisation in India
The strategic collaboration between TPEM and JLR will also unlock several cost optimisation opportunities on account of economies of scale emerging out of the aligned sourcing of components for the EMA platform. “While the joint work helps us shorten the development cycle, and gives TPEM access to global solutions, we can also tap into opportunities arising out of aligned sourcing to leverage benefits of scale and location.
“Leveraging economies of scale for a shared bill-of-material (BOM), is, therefore, the foremost financial benefit of this agreement, followed by access to high-value technology, including domain-based and high-voltage architecture with optimised upfront capex. It also provides TPEM the unique opportunity to optimise the industrial investments for premium EVs in India. These are the unique opportunities that we see with the EMA synergy,” Kulkarni said.
He further hinted towards exploring the potential to localise several components of the advanced JLR architecture in India, depending upon the specific part and its application. “Our EV journey so far shows that we have always invested in localising and establishing capabilities within the country, and that approach will continue even with the products we will offer with the EMA platform.
“Presently, we are working on an extremely fast path to get the first Avinya series product out by end-2025, and one of the opportunities that we see is that a lot of components for both Tata Motors and JLR products are being sourced by global suppliers even today. Therefore, at an opportune time, we should be able to drive localisation with this platform,” Kulkarni pointed out.
Avinya to boast strong export potential
Tata Motors is advocating its Avinya series as a premium pure-EV portfolio with advanced, domain-controlled E&E architectures, over 500km of range, autonomous driving-, and ultra-fast charging capabilities of up to 300kW. While the company has not specified its product positioning strategy for India, which could see the Avinya line-up becoming the flagship Tata Motors products in the country, it says the Avinya-based models are going to come with a strong global appeal.
“The Avinya is a premium pure-EV offering, which is an aspirational, global product, which will meet the requirements of global customers. Therefore, the products are being configured to deliver exceedingly high levels of performance, refinement, and efficiency,” Kulkarni said.
The JLR EMA platform would also enable Tata Motors to explore multi-drive, including rear-wheel and all-wheel drive options, on the products based on the Avinya concept. Autonomous driving (up to L3), and connected car technology with OTA support will be some of the key product USPs emerging out of this born-electric programme. Tata Motors looks confident of exploring export opportunities with the made-in-India Avinya range.
“Since different markets would have their own preferences in terms of how the products get configured, therefore, the platform as well as the product development strategy that we are following, incorporates that in-built flexibility,” Kulkarni signed off.
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