Tata Motors to invest over $1 billion in CV business

Asia's Tech News Daily

tata motors, cv, cng, lng, powertrains, girish wagh, tamo

Tata Motors, the nation’s largest truck maker, has lined up an investment of more than $1 billion (over ₹7,500 crore) in the coming 4-5 years to recraft its road map for the commercial vehicle business, with electric vehicles at its core, people in the know said.

The company that has taken a lead in the passenger electric vehicle (EV) space, is transitioning to new-age platforms designed to deliver futuristic EVs in the commercial vehicle (CV) space as well. These vehicle architectures will also be able to accommodate CNG, LNG and diesel powertrains, in a significant shift from the past when fossil-fuelled vehicles were re-engineered to make EVs.

Tata Motors

wants to lead and drive electrification in the marketplace just as it did with the conventional powertrains in the past, Girish Wagh, executive director – commercial vehicle business, at Tata Motors, told ET. It is working on a range of options catering to the short-range battery-operated vehicles for the last mile with the small CV offerings and gas-based fuel-cell electric vehicles to cater to the more extended range. Still, before that, the shift towards CNG is going to be quick.

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tata motors, cv, cng, lng, powertrains, girish wagh, tamo

“Electrification in CVs will happen through gaseous fuel first. One has seen a significant shift towards CNG; the improved distribution (of CNG) is expected to accelerate further. We have re-looked at the whole range and applications, which we need to work on and prioritise at the back end with a reworked modularity strategy,” Wagh said, adding: “A lot of work is happening on delivering solutions with real-world experiences.”

Wagh, however, declined to comment on the amount of investment planned and any moves to set up an EV subsidiary, terming such talks as “speculation”.

The new roadmap is being put in place as the company is also revamping its sales and marketing interface with the induction of senior marketing professionals like Shubranshu Singh, who joined from Royal Enfield, and former Ford India managing director Anurag Mehrotra, who will steer its international business and strategy.

Wagh said the total cost of ownership parity in favour of electric over diesel may happen sooner, but it may take a little longer for EVs to achieve that over CNG vehicles.

Apart from last mile, some steel and cement companies are asking for electric trucks for mining applications, and the company has already started working on a solution.

While there is no defined plan to set up an independent subsidiary for the electric CV business at Tata Motors, industry experts said it is almost a foregone conclusion. Right now, there is a big focus on developing a strong product portfolio and building a customer base to secure a healthy valuation at Tata Motors.

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