Removal of ‘WFH’ by corporates would help EV sales grow next year: Tata Motors

With work from home being stopped in most of the corporate houses, the electric vehicle (EV) sales will grow more in next year for transporting workforce and also encouraging employees to opt for EVs, wherever it is possible, a top official at Tata Motors said.

“There’s a big pipeline which is developing in the employee transport segment., after this work from home has got removed…this is one segment which will grow big. That is mainly companies who are obliged to provide transport to their employees. Then there’s a category where many companies are encouraging and giving incentives to their employees to go for EVs. So all these categories we are trying to target,” Shailesh Chandra, Managing Director, Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles and Tata Passenger Electric Mobility, told businessline.

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The company said since the launch of its Tiago (hatchback) electric in December, last year, it has now opened in a lot cities and know where to penetrate more for sale of the EVs.

Focus shift

“First we were focusing on opening stores more in what we thought are the right cities. But we now have a lot of data base. For the last one year, we have opened in 176 cities and now we know where there is a possibility of penetrating more,” Chandra said.

Therefore, Tata Motors will segment the market in three parts to generate maximum number of sales, he said adding that the electric car market which is expected to close at around one-lakh units this calendar year, should grow by 30-40 per cent next year on this high base.

“One is, where there’s already high penetration, good visibility of EVs, there’s a different way where we will be actioning to increase the penetration; there are certain markets where you are seeing that for some reason, there’s a traction but there are missing elements in terms of enablements that are needed and the third category is of the cities where we believe that everyone has individual house so the penetration will be high but it is low. We have to really approach those kind of markets with a different market strategy for right penetration,” Chandra explained.

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FAME & Benefits

On asked whether schemes like Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) help company to drive volumes, he said that FAME hasn’t helped, but subsidies such as five per cent GST and zero registration cost have helped and should continue by the government, to grow the EV market in India.

“I always give the example of Maharashtra. We used to sell around 100 vehicles (EVs) before the subsidies came in and once the subsidies kicked in with ealry birds schems and all, it reached (sales) to around 1,000 units per month and when the subsidies were removed or got over, we still sell around 700 units. So definitely it takes the table luck because then people do see on the roads…frankly these customers consider any incentive as a bonus,” he said.

Fleet segment

In the fleet segment, he said with companies like Uber and BluSmart announcing for expansions, the company will gain more market share in the fleet segment too.

For instance, BluSmart has recently raised $24 million (₹200 crore) in a new equity round, which saw participation and over-subscription from existing investors, founders and the leadership team.

Similary, Uber will deploy 25,000 electric cars across the top seven cities with the highest demand over the next three years.

According to Srikumar Krishnamurthy, Senior Vice President and Co-Group Head – Corporate Ratings, ICRA Limited, companies are launching new model of EVs and there are good opportunities, but the focus will remain around charging stations.

“Good options are given by the OEMs (manufacturers) when it comea to PV park (charging infrastructure), the market leader (Tata) is cautious. The focus will be on identifying the charging infrascture and the technology related aspects,” he said.

So in the larger scheme of things he said electric PVs will catch up faster on the private (direct consumers) segment as compared to the commercial side (fleet), in the near and mid-term future, added Krishnamurthy.

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