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Business News/ Auto News / Tata builds small ECV, gears up for year-end launch
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Tata builds small ECV, gears up for year-end launch

The project is underway since 2018-19, and Tata Motors has consulted prospective customers, mostly e-commerce companies, for their requirements and desired vehicle dimensions, the people cited above said on condition of anonymity

Tata Motors has based its first small electric commercial vehicle on its segment creator Ace model.Premium
Tata Motors has based its first small electric commercial vehicle on its segment creator Ace model.

Tata Motors Ltd is developing a small electric commercial vehicle (ECV), based on its existing product Ace, for a possible year-end launch, two people aware of its plans said.

The project is underway since 2018-19, and Tata Motors has consulted prospective customers, mostly e-commerce companies, for their requirements and desired vehicle dimensions, the people cited above said on condition of anonymity.

“The company is working on some products in the small and light commercial vehicle segment, and quite a lot of work has already been done in the product development space," one of the two people cited above said. “The electric cargo carrier space will have a lot of potential in the coming years, and that’s why most likely customers have been consulted while developing the products. Ace will be the first one, but there are multiple products lined up," this person added.

Securing a foothold in the electric space is critical for India’s largest CV maker, especially since rival Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M) has already launched Treo Zor, an electric rickshaw.

The small CV segment is expected to ride the coming electric wave as e-commerce companies like Amazon and Flipkart induct more EVs.

Jeff Bezos-led Amazon has tied up with Mahindra Electric, M&M’s electric vehicle unit, to induct the Treo Zor. The Seattle-headquartered firm plans to introduce 10,000 EVs in its delivery fleet in India by 2025.

Meanwhile, Walmart-owned Flipkart has said it plans to introduce 25,000 EVs in its fleet. Other e-commerce players and food delivery startups are expected to follow suit.

“Tata Motors has major plans in the electric small commercial vehicle space, starting with Ace. The company also understands that demand for such vehicles will increase due to the reducing price gap between internal combustion engine vehicles and electric ones, and pressure on e-commerce firms to shift their fleet to electric by the government," the second person said.

Tata group companies like Tata Power Ltd, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Chemicals Ltd and Tata Motors have been collaborating on the development of infrastructure for EVs. Tata Motors launched its first electric passenger vehicle, Nexon, in 2020, and the company managed to sell 2,500 units in the same year despite the nationwide slowdown.

The Mumbai-based company has also introduced electric buses in some cities.

A Tata Motors spokesperson said the company does not want to comment on future product developments and launches,

“We see that e-commerce players are actually looking at electric vehicles for last-mile distribution. That’s where we are trying to understand their requirement and then come up with a solution and not just a product," Girish Wagh, president of the commercial vehicles business unit of Tata Motors, said in a recent interview.

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Published: 24 Mar 2021, 11:44 PM IST
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