The Indian automobile companies are riding high and the leader in this rally is Tata Motors. From acquiring the JLR to engineering the cheapest car in the world, Tata have always tried to expand their global footprint and in this endeavour UK has been a significant place for them. Their bonhomie with UK market continues unabated and the latest addition in this is the launch of e-Indica in the UK.
The 19th largest automobile company in the world seems all set for bringing the electric version of Indica Vista in the European market. The car is supposed to have a top speed of 114 km per hour, lively acceleration and a range of 160 km, a four-seater arrangement and ample luggage space.The e-Indica is likely to face competition from the existing as well new players. Currently UK has around 20 models of electric car available but the number is likely to grow at a stellar pace in 2011.
The year 2011 seems to be the most suitable time for launching electric cars in the UK.As government of UK has introduced a subsidy for such cars, the sale is expected to reach new milestones. While there were only 55 buyers for electric car in UK in 2009,UK government need to fuel the electric car market as UK needs to reduce its carbon footprint legally.The Climate Change Act 2008 set legally binding emission reduction targets for 2020 (reduction of 34 percent in greenhouse gas emissions) and for 2050 (reduction of at least 80 percent in greenhouse gas emissions), and introduced five-yearly carbon budgets to help ensure those targets are met.
The incentive announced by UK government is in line with announcement by other governments across the globe.The US gives motorists a $7,300 (£4,708) tax credit for cars such as the Volt and Leaf, China offers electric car-makers £4,721 per car and France has a €5,000 (£4,240) grant scheme.
So Tata motors’ decision to enter the electric car market has many positive parameters.Also,it has established brand recognition for it after the “Nano” launch.It is India’s largest automobile company, with consolidated revenues of USD 20 bn in 2009-10. It is the leader in commercial vehicles and among the top three in passenger vehicles. Tata Motors has products in the compact, midsize car and utility vehicle segments. The company is the world's fourth largest truck manufacturer, the world's second largest bus manufacturer, and employs 24,000 workers. Since first rolled out in 1954, Tata Motors has produced and sold over 4 mn vehicles in India.
For production of e-Indica in UK, Tata motors has established a manufacturing centre in Coventry in UK, which is capable of building 1,500 units every year.The e-Indica was developed by the engineers of Tata Motors UK subsidiary, Tata Motors European Technical Centre Plc (TMETC). The body shell of the cars is exported from India. The final price of the car is not yet announced by the company but it is expected that end cost will stand around at £20,000, including the £5,000 subsidy provided by the government on electric cars.
Tata Motors has already built 40 units of the Indica Vista EV in the first phase, of which 25 units have been delivered. The car battery is capable of covering 100 miles (160 km) to a full charge, which would cost $ 2.5.The lithium-ion batteries in the car are produced by MiljobilInnovasion, a subsidiary of TMETC based in Norway.
The car will be in the markets of UK from the early summer this year and the car is also targeting their customer’s class primarily at business and fleet users. The company's aim is to develop a healthy customer base and after-sales program, and not to chasemany customers in the market.The objective behind keeping customer volumes low for first two years is that the plant in Coventry in UK is only capable of producing 1,500 cars per year. Keeping the demand-supply gap in mind they have an objective of increasing customer base with the increase of Coventry plant producing capacity.
Despite bringing e-Indica in the UK, the Indian auto behemoth has no plan to launch the electric car for Indian market. The reason is very clear as infrastructure in India lags far behind compared to its European peers. So while Indian companies are tapping the low carbon potential in the world, India still is not on their radar. Despite India’s voluntary commitment being not bound legally, it would become imperative for India to make it a low carbon Economy. After all when Indian companies are serving the markets across the globe, why should India miss the bus?
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