The auto industry has seen a significant transformation in the past couple of months right from new operating procedures to an unprecedented push for personal mobility. And this push will only help drive sales for electric vehicles in the post COVID-era, says Shailesh Chandra, President - Passenger Vehicle Business Unit, Tata Motors. Chandra responded to a query by carandbike on the future of electric mobility in India. The personal EV segment growth though does come at the cost of falling demand in the fleet segment.
Also Read: Tata Nexon Electric SUV Review
Commenting on EV sales in the post-COVID era and the pandemic's impact, Chandra said, "In pre-COVID era, EV industry grew mainly on account of adoption from fleet segment. However, in post COVID era, fleet segment has seen a significant de-growth, albeit temporarily, on account work-from-home measures adopted by corporates. With personal mobility gaining traction over shared mobility for personal well-being and safety concerns we are also witnessing a shift in mind-set towards after cleaner environment."
At present, personal vehicle segment accounts for about 85 per cent of the overall passenger vehicle industry, and electric vehicles are gaining acceptance in the segment. The launch of promising EV options in the market has helped shift the customer mindset towards electric vehicles, added Chandra.
The Tata Motors boss' statement echoes with the findings of the carandbike personal mobility survey conducted earlier this year. The survey was conducted to assess the impact of the pandemic on the auto sector and it concluded that the commute by private cars was set to increase by 15 per cent in the times to come. The survey also said that there will be a higher demand for pre-owned vehicles in the times to come, more so, from OEM-backed businesses. That has prompted automakers to more actively enter the used car sector.
Both Volkswagen and Skoda entered in the pre-owned car sales business in the last couple of weeks, while established players like Mercedes-Benz Certified, Maruti Suzuki True Value, Mahindra First Choice among others have seen demand grow. More recently, Mahindra First Choice opened 50 new used car dealerships pan India in a single day, as the brand prepares to address the influx in the times to come.
Tata Altroz EV is the brand's next big launch in the electric mobility segment
Tata Motors has been aggressively looking at establishing dominance in the electric vehicle segment and pooled its resources internally within the Tata Group for a more holistic approach towards the EV space. While the company has been retailing the Tigor EV for fleet operators for a while now, the Tata Nexon EV that was launched earlier this year is the brand's first big bet at reaching out to the masses. The company sold over 1000 units of the Nexon EV in the first six months since its launch, and Chandra says that the extension of FAME II for personal segment cars that meet the subsidy criteria can drive the sales penetration deeper. The company also recently introduced the Nexon EV on a subscription model with prices starting from ₹ 34,900 per month to attract newer customers.
Tata's two new platforms - ALFA and OMEGA - which will underpin the company's all new and future passenger cars, have been designed to accommodate an electric powertrain. The company will also introduce the Altroz EV in the coming months, its next major electric vehicle that will also be slightly more affordable than the Nexon EV, reaching to a larger customer base. With the company looking out for a new partner to grow its passenger vehicle business, we expect electric mobility to be a major part of that plan for the next decade.
Tata Motors has also been working with its group companies to set-up a charging infrastructure across the country. Tata Power had previously announced that it intends to have over 700 charging points pan India by the end of 2021. Similarly, companies such as EESL, REIL, Fortum, local DISCOMs are working aggressively on expansion. Pervasive charging infrastructure will be a real enabler for EVs to become a mode of mass mobility in the country, added Chandra.
The Indian government had previously announced its aim to see about 30 per cent penetration of electric vehicles in the Indian auto market. Speaking on the same, Chandra said that the dream will require all ecosystem players to work in a collaborative manner to overcome the challenges of EV adoption.