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Tata Motors to unveil production-ready e-car on Alpha architecture

Business Standard:  January 24, 2019

Mumbai: Tata Motors will soon unveil an electric car based on its newly developed Alpha platform. This is part of a long-term plan to be future-ready for sustainable mobility, Guenter Karl Butschek, managing director and chief executive at the firm, told Business Standard.

The Tata Group flagship on Wednesday launched the Harrier, a five-seater sport utility vehicle (SUV) based on the company’s Omega architecture, with prices starting from Rs 12.69 lakh and going upwards to Rs 16.25 lakh.

“I can’t promise much but stay tuned to the announcements in the coming weeks. You will actually see something that reminds you of the EVision sedan, but on the Alpha architecture,” said Butschek, pointing that the two new platforms, particularly the Alpha, are “battery electric protected.” 

It offers the flexibility to develop alternative power trains, including hybrid and electric. The architecture allows the battery to be placed on the vehicle’s floor, which, in turn, gives better ride and handling quality, explained Butschek.

Tata Motors showcased its brand new EVision Concept car at the 2018 Geneva Auto show, an all-electric idea based on the Omega platform.

Tata Motors’ plan comes amid the government’s thrust on electric mobility solution as it seeks to reduce carbon footprint and reduce dependence on fossil fuel.

The Omega (a derivative of Land Rover D8) and Alpha are the two new platform architecture that will underpin Tata Motors’ future line-up of models as it seeks to recoup the market share and volume losses of the past years.

The Harrier, positioned as a global product, is a new chapter for Tata Motors as it marks the commercial roll-out of the first model based on the Omega architecture, said Butschek.

Among other things, it will help in moving up the brand perception by several notches. “Our ability to launch the Harrier is also confirmation that Tata Motors has changed and it’s ready to move on to the next level,” he said, adding it will have a huge knock-off impact on Tata Motors’ product line-up. Tata plans to bring several variants of the model, including a seven-seater SUV, in the coming months.

With competitive pricing, the Harrier takes rivals head-on. While the Jeep Compass is at a price band of Rs 15.40 lakh to Rs 22.90 lakh, Hyundai Creta’s prices start at Rs 9.60 lakh, going up to Rs 15.64 lakh. The Mahindra XUV500 is priced between Rs 12.65 lakh and Rs 19 lakh.

Mayank Pareek, president, passenger vehicle business unit at Tata Motors, said the Harrier is “category defining”, indicating the company has got a better-than-expected response and already has a backlog of three months’ orders. Tata Motors commenced bookings for the model on October 15 last year.

With the Harrier, Tata Motors is looking for significant gains in India’s competitive UV market, where its share in the first nine months of the current fiscal year stands at 10.84 per cent over a year ago, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

SUVs account for 27 per cent share in the 2.5-million passenger vehicle market in India. Of this, close to 20 per cent is contributed by compact SUVs, said Pareek, pointing out that a shortened product life cycle means there is room for segmentation in the SUV market.

Based on the so-called Impact Design 2.0 philosophy, the Harrier is powered by the 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel from Fiat Chrysler Automobile India and comes with a six-speed manual gearbox. While there’s no four-wheel drive, the Harrier does get Electronic Stability Programme-based ‘Terrain Response’ modes — normal, wet, and rough road.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.