2030 EV mission a big challenge, says Tata Motors MD Guenter Butschek

A day after announcing turnaround numbers for the domestic business of Tata Motors, chief executive and managing director Guenter Butschek on Tuesday showcased the company’s role in driving India’s future mobility while arguing that it would be big challenge to meet the government’s vision of 100 per cent electrification of public transport and 40 per cent personal vehicles by 2030.

Tata Motors had last September won a mega government contract for supplying 10,000 electric vehicles to state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) at a price of around Rs 1.12 million per unit under the NDA government’s 2030 EV plan. Butschek said on Tuesday that the delivery schedule was on track.

On meeting the 2030 deadline, Butschek said there should be a ‘’single-minded focus’’. The goal will not be met ''if we get distracted.’’ The government must move in the direction of incentivizing for full electric vehicles to make it attractive for companies to commit investment and create economies of scale, according to the Tata Motors MD.

‘’If by 2025, around 20 to 25 per cent new registrations are EVs, we would have done a splendid job,’’ Butschek replied when asked to project a realistic figure for the India market. His caveat was, ‘’it is just the beginning of the movement.

It’s too early.’’ He also highlighted that India must close the gap with the global leaders in automotive technology. Only then can the country be a real auto hub, he said, while referring to some policy lacunae including frequent changes on goods and services tax (GST) hitting business planning and fund allocations.

While stating that 2030 was a good timeline from the vision and aspiration perspective, he said ‘’we need to draft and translate it into a policy to get anywhere close to it.’’ Electrification is a large investment game, he said, adding, ‘’the more you invest in conventional powertrain, longer is the transition to EV.’’

On hybrids, he said those models would be inevitable to meet the corporate average fleet emission (CAFÉ) norms by 2022. But there should not be government incentive for providing hybrid solutions, rather the focus should be on full electrification. Also, in a teaser of sorts, Butschek gave away the two concept codenames--H5X and X451—to be unveiled globally at the Auto Expo 2018 on Wednesday.

Tata H5 SUV has been inspired by the architecture of the Land Rover Discovery Sport, Butschek said when asked about the exchange of ideas with UK-based Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), a subsidiary of Tata Motors. Could the SUV, planned for a 2019 launch, help Tata Motors take on Mahindras in the segment? Butschek skipped the question.

The other much talked about platform debut at the Expo would be of Tata X451, a premium hatchback. There will be many more concepts and models lined up including electric buses, hybrids, fuel cells for the mega auto show, but there’s no word yet on how much Tata Motors would invest in EVs or how many it would roll out apart from the EESL deal to supply 10,000 vehicles to the government.

Source- Business Standard