India’s Tata Motors said it plans to launch electric vehicles (EVs), including SUVs, using a new design which will allow for a larger battery and a range of up to 500 kilometres.
Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, has made EVs a major focus for India’s government, which is offering companies billions of dollars in incentives to manufacture them locally.
EVs make up only 1% of total car sales in India, however, with high battery prices and an inadequate charging network holding back buyers and the launch of new electric models.
Tata Motors, which is India’s top-selling electric carmaker, said vehicles launched under its new Curvv design will be based on a new architecture adapted for electric models.
Cars built on this platform are expected to be launched in two years, and the company is working to fast track the development, said Shailesh Chandra, managing director of Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles and Tata Passenger Electric Mobility.
There will be room for a bigger battery and the SUVs are expected to have a certified driving range of 400-500 kilometres, Chandra said, adding that they will also be capable of faster and more efficient charging.
Tata Motors, which has over 90% of India’s EV market, sold 19,000 of them in the fiscal year ended March 31, up from 4,200 units the previous year.
Last year, Tata Motors raised $1 billion from private equity fund TPG for its EV unit, and has said it will invest a total of $2 billion to push clean car sales.
The carmaker told Reuters last month that it faces short-term pressure after a 20% rise in the cost of battery cells due to a surge in raw material prices, mainly lithium.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell