Murugappa Group’s electric three-wheeler Montra is expected to hit the market in April after a delay of about five months.

The group’s electric vehicle company TI Clean Mobility (TICM), a subsidiary of Tube Investments of India Ltd (TII), had launched its electric autorickshaw Montra on September 6 last year. The company had announced a starting price of ₹3.02 lakh (ex-showroom post-subsidy) for Montra, which will have three variants — ePX, ePV and ePV 2.0 — with a battery capacity of 7.66 kWh, 7.66 kWh, and 10 kWh, respectively. The typical range of these variants would be 118 km-155 km.

Delayed production

During the launch, the company had said the vehicle’s delivery will begin as early as in October as TII’s Ambattur facility near Chennai was preparing to commence production. However, it appears that sales didn’t commence. Vahan dashboard information also confirms the same.

The management has now told the Q3 FY23 earnings call that delivery of the vehicle will commence from March this year and sales from the following month. The delay was on account of the new battery safety standards introduced by the government.

Montra will initially be sold in the southern region, where it has already appointed 42 dealers and the number of dealers will be ramped up to 75 by the end of the year.

Electric three-wheelers (based on lithium batteries) have become economically more competitive than ICEs. Three categories are seeing faster adoption of electric products in India and they include two-wheelers, three-wheelers and buses. During 2022, the total sales of passenger electric three-wheelers stood at 3.05 lakh units, up from 1.36 lakh units in 2021.

More EVs coming up

Murugappa group had indicated that it would give a deeper focus on electric three-wheelers and electric tractors as part of its clean mobility business.

TI Clean Mobility acquired two companies — Cellestial E-Mobility Pvt Ltd, a Hyderabad-based electric tractor startup, and IPL Tech Electric Pvt Ltd, a Gurgaon-based electric heavy commercial vehicle start-up — in 2022 to accelerate its EV journey.

The company is planning to launch an electric heavy truck after Montra. It would focus on localising parts such as the battery, motor controller, etc. from the first half of the next fiscal.

It will also be introducing an electric tractor. The homologation process will be undertaken by March this year and commercialisation will be done by June or July.