Countering the recent news reports which had claimed that senior government officials may be refusing electric cars due to lack of mileage on a single charge, Tata Motors has said that it has not heard 'range' as a major concern after its interaction with the customers and EESL, a state-run joint venture of four power PSUs tasked with procuring e-vehicles for government departments.
However, the automotive giant which owns Jaguar and Land Rover, said that 74 per cent of the car buyers in the country are still price conscious with a budget of Rs 4,00,000 - Rs 8,00,000. "For prices above Rs 15,00,000 lakh, the customers are limited. In such a scenario, the biggest barrier to adoption of electric cars is price of the car itself, and battery cost is the key variable determining the same. The specification chosen by EESL helped in keeping this aspect under control, while choosing a range, which was good enough for the city use," Tata Motors said.
Tata Motors said it has supplied the Tigor EVs to EESL in line with the specifications provided in the tender. Out of the first lot of 500 electric vehicles, Tata Motors was to supply 350 units of its e-Tigor, and Mahindra & Mahindra got the order for 150 cars.
The auto major also pointed to research findings which showed the average running for a personal use in a day to be around 50-60 kms. "With an overnight charging, a range of 130 km is more than adequate to meet the daily requirement. Also, with a fast charging network, the range concern could further be taken care of," it said.
"A higher range of 250 kms and above would mean battery cost of more than INR 700k, which would take the electric cars price completely inaccessible for majority of the Indian customers at the prevailing Li-ion battery prices," the carmaker added.
Tata Motors had won the tender with a winning bid of Rs 11.2 lakh for its electric Tata Tigor, a price that was later matched by Mahindra & Mahindra for its e-Verito in the first phase of procuring 500 vehicles.
As battery prices come down in future, it is an imperative to increase the range for bringing further mental comfort to the consumer, the auto giant said. "The technology to deliver higher performance and range is available, but the country has to take a conscious call to whether prioritize price accessibility in the next few years, or create high performing and extended range cars with, most probably, a lower demand due to higher price," it added.
Apart from Tigor EV, which is custom-made to the EESL tender. Tata Motors said that it will introduce products with higher range and performance to bring greater excitement in the Indian market for electric cars in the coming years. The carmaker added that the price of such cars will be on the higher side driven by battery capacity and cost.