N Chandrasekaran’s One-Tata Plan Gets Going With Tata Nexon EV
(From left) Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran, Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata, Tata Motors CEO Guenter Buschek and Tata Motors’ President (Electric Vehicles) Shailesh Chandra at the launch of the Tata Nexon EV in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. (Photo: BloombergQuint)

N Chandrasekaran’s One-Tata Plan Gets Going With Tata Nexon EV

Tata Motors Ltd. rolled out the electric version of its Nexon sports utility vehicle, the first product under N Chandrasekaran’s ‘One Tata’ initiative to increase collaboration between different companies of the $111-billion conglomerate.

“We have four more products under this—two more SUVs, one hatchback and one sedan,” Chandrasekaran, chairman at group holding company Tata Sons Pvt. Ltd., said at the launch of the Tata Nexon EV. This comes two years after Tata Motors launched the battery-powered Tigor sedan, the company’s first electric vehicle.

The Tata Nexon EV is priced at Rs 13.99-15.99 lakh, ex-showroom. Tata Power Company Ltd. will set up home charging stations within 15 days of bookings that will initially begin at 60 dealerships and Croma stores in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru.

Chandrasekaran mooted the ‘One Tata’ idea about three years ago, nearly six months after he was picked to lead the group. He has been trying to simplify the structure and improve collaboration within the group that has more than 100 companies. The company identified electric mobility as its first focus under the strategy.

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While Tata Motors will make the Nexon EV, Tata AutoComp Systems Pvt. Ltd. will supply battery packs, Tata Chemicals Ltd. battery cells, and The Titan Company Ltd. will give Tata Chemicals equipment to set up a battery facility.

Tata Power will create the fast- and slow-charging infrastructure, Croma stores will offer vehicle test drives and take bookings, and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. will provide IT services.

The Nexon EV is just one element of the Tata universe, Guenter Butschek, managing director and chief executive officer at Tata Motors, said during a roundtable with journalists. “The initiative got pushed even more after FAME I and FAME II tender requirements as these went far beyond the scope of Tata Motors,” he said, referring to the government’s scheme that offers incentives for cleaner mobility.

The e-mobility project will see Tata Chemicals and Tata AutoComp invest Rs 800-1,000 crore to set up battery pack and battery manufacturing facility in the next 3-4 years. Tata Chemicals will set up end-to-end storage solutions comprising mobility and stationary solution, said R Mukundan, managing director of Tata Chemicals.

The company will initially import cells till it builds the factory in Gujarat within the next three years. The facility will have an initial capacity of 300 megawatts which can go up to 2 gigawatts as demand picks up.

Tata Power will be investing close to Rs 100 crore on the charging infrastructure, said Praveer Sinha, managing director at the power producer and distributor. “We already have 100 charging sites and will be going to 300 by the end of March.”

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The e-mobility products—starting with the Nexon EV—will have 50-60 percent localisation, which will go up to 70-75 percent in the next 3-4 years when Tata starts making batteries in India, said Shailesh Chandra, president - electric mobility business and corporate strategy at Tata Motors.

Tata Motors has aggressively priced the Nexon EV. It’s cheaper than MG ZS EV and Hyundai’s Kona that start at Rs 20.88 lakh and Rs 23.90 lakh, respectively.

“We did a specific survey and found that if you are within the 25 percent premium to ICE (internal combustion engine), then the customer has higher propensity to buy the vehicle in that particular segment,” said Chandra. “That has been the reference for us, and the price will be pretty much within that.”

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