Manu P. Toms

Mumbai, Feb. 6

Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, and Reva Electric Car Company are planning to launch electric trucks and passenger carriers in the sub-one-tonne segment.

The development in electric power-train technology triggers open a niche segment in commercial vehicles with at least three manufacturers foraying into the battery-run light truck/van market.

Tata Motors has developed an electric version of the Ace which could debut soon. M&M, likewise, is working on a variant for the recently launched 0.9-tonne Maxximo.

“We will come out with an electric version in 8-10 months, both in the cargo and passenger carrier space,” said Mr Rajan Wadhera, Chief of Engineering and Development, M&M. Mr Chetan Maini, Deputy Chairman and Chief Technology Officer, Reva, has said the company was ready with its commercial vehicle platforms and was in talks with local and global players.

With growing awareness on the harmful effects of air and noise pollution, the stage is set for electric vehicles even for short hauls. “Huge shopping and residential complexes as well as airports need such vehicles. We know this is going to be very competitive and we are preparing for it,” said Mr Wadhera.

It will be interesting to see if these electric options will grow the sub-one-tonne market, which does numbers of one lakh units annually. It could also get a share of 3.5 lakh-strong three-wheeler segment.

“We believe there is a market especially in the intra-city transport segment. The electric power-train can be expensive but the running cost is just a tenth of diesel vehicles,” said Mr R. Chandramauli, President, Sales and Marketing, Reva. However, he said that electric commercial vehicles will be sold at a premium to diesel variants.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 7, 2010)
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