Early EV adopters getting over, focus on developing mkt: Tata Motors CFO Balaji | Autocar Professional

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Tata Motors Ltd believes the early adopters of electric passenger vehicles may be subsiding and the automaker would focus more on developing the electric vehicle market in India this financial year to sustain the growth momentum.

The automaker’s electric car sales rose 48 percent on year to 73,800 units but missed the target of selling 1 lakh electric cars that it had set earlier. “We are clear that the phase of early majority wanting to come in on an enthusiastic mode is probably getting over,” Group CFO Balaji in a post-earnings earnings call.

Balaji noted that the new majority set of customers that are going to come are those who require much more reassurance in terms of charging infrastructure, total cost of ownership, residual value, and variety of models and use cases. “So, our focus this year is to work on the market development front on stepping up the electric vehicle penetration,” he said.

Electric vehicle penetration in India’s passenger vehicle segment now stands at around 2.3 percent. With four models, electric vehicles now account for 13 percent of Tata Motors’ passenger vehicle powertrain mix, up from 9 percent in FY23. The automaker, which launched Punch EV in January, is looking to electric vehicle sales momentum with the launch of Curvv EV this year.

Tata Motors is working with charge point operators and oil-marketing companies to set up highway charging infrastructure and community charging. “We are working with charge point operators to set up almost 22,000 chargers and with solar rooftop companies to make electric vehicles more economically viable. There are a lot of granular interventions we are onto, which would help drive electric vehicle penetration substantially higher,” Balaji added.

The management believes the barrier to electric vehicle adoption has come down considerably through new model launches and improving charging infrastructure, and the barriers are expected to reduce further with a slew of launches planned by OEMs in this financial year.

When asked about how electric vehicle sales are evolving, Tata Passenger Electric Mobility MD Shailesh Chandra told investors that he clearly sees strong growth in the segment with barriers to adoption being reduced and new model launches, not just by Tata Motors, but also by other automakers. “There will be intensity of pitch in favor of electric vehicles,” he said.

“We should definitely not compare with what is happening in the US or anywhere else because those are for other factors, which is not applicable to India,” Chandra added. 

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