Tatas Motors to invest Rs 15,000 crore in electric vehicles

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Tatas Motors to invest Rs 15,000 crore in electric vehicles
© Provided by The Times of India

MUMBAI: Tata Motors will invest as much as $2 billion (Rs 15,000 crore) over the next four years to launch 10 new electric vehicles just as its broader passenger vehicles division — which was in losses till a few years ago — hopes to turn around and generate free cash flow by 2022-23, a top official has said.

The move comes within days of private equity firm TPG Rise Climate announcing plans to pump in $1 billion into Tata Motors’s passenger electric vehicles division at a valuation of $9.1 billion. Shailesh Chandra, president of Tata Motors’s passenger vehicles business unit, said the company has a strong product launch plan for electrics, with expectations of 20% sales coming from green powertrains over four to five years.

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“With just two green products right now (Nexon and Tigor EVs), we are getting bookings of 3,000-3,500 units per month. However, we are able to supply only around 1,000 units… We are now lining up new investments to the tune of $2 billion just for electrics and this would be used to add 10 new green vehicles, boost production capacity and charging infrastructure, and create IP (intellectual property),” Chandra told TOI here.

In September, the company had said that cumulative sales of electrics had crossed 10,000 units, with main contribution coming from Nexon. It recently launched an upgraded Tigor electric sedan, and is hoping that demand for EVs will remain strong as central and state governments offer benefits to promote green technologies and vehicle charging network gets dense.

While it remains tight-lipped about future product plans, the company is understood to be considering electrifying some of its existing petrol/diesel products that may include the Altros hatchback and the newly launched Punch mini SUV.

Chandra said 10 new passenger vehicles will be a mix of cars and SUVs. Asked whether these would also include all-new ‘electric only’ products, he said, “This will surely include the ‘born electric’ products, which would be exclusively developed EVs.” Tata Motors has also seen a surge in sales of its broader passenger vehicles business, with good demand for models such as Nexon SUV, Tiago and Altros SUVs, and premium off-roaders Harrier and Safari.

Notwithstanding production constraints due to semiconductor shortages, the company is averaging monthly sales of around 30,000 units over the past few months. Chandra said that the Punch — a mass-selling product — will add further strong inflows into its domestic volumes. It is expected that with Punch, Tata Motors’s monthly volumes may cross 40,000 units, almost challenging Hyundai’s position as the second-largest car seller in India. “We are not chasing ranks. We are fully focused on our products and their success.”

He said that a larger share of SUVs into the company’s portfolio, which could go up to 60% in the coming years, will aid profitability.

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