June 29

Market leader Tata Motors is contemplating setting up new stand-alone EV showrooms, which could become a first in the car industry.

However, since Tata Motors has a limited number of EV offerings at present, comprising just two models, the company does not see an urgent need for a separate retail network

Speaking to BusinessLine, Shailesh Chandra, Managing Director, Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles and Tata Passenger Electric Mobility, said, “After a certain stage, it might make sense (to have EV showrooms) when you have a range of products and when the demand for EVs has reached a level where it can independently support a profitable channel process and where showrooms can exist on their own.”

Tata Motors currently offers the Nexon EV and the Tigor EV and their derivatives. It has in the pipeline both budget as well as premium offerings. These comprise Punch EV, Altroz EV, Sierra EV and final versions of the Avinya and Curvv. These could make up the 10 electric vehicles promised by Tata Motors.  

Low EV penetration

For the traditional petrol and diesel-fired models, Tata Motors is looking at switching to selling cars online soon. The electric car buying and retailing business is different. Since EV penetration in India is very low, buyers are not fully accustomed to the workings of an electric vehicle. Most buyers will need tutoring on critical aspects of the EV, such as driving behaviour, charging of the vehicle and its maintenance and upkeep.

“(Separate showrooms) have merit going forward and having dedicated sales executives. At some stage, we might think about that. EVs have their own experience and explanation,” Chandra added.

While Tata Motors set up a separate EV company which even received external funding that would help accelerate its product development and production plans, many of the company’s rivals are yet to break ground on the same despite the tremendous consumer interest in EVs. Tata Motors has committed to investing ₹15,000 crore in the EV space.

Global heavyweights such as Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, Renault, and Nissan are yet to make any major announcements on their EV plans for India. Maruti Suzuki will not launch its first EV before 2025, while Hyundai will introduce its first mass-market EV by 2024. Hyundai’s sister brand Kia recently made a debut in the EV space, but in a low volume, premium segment.

Tata Motors has a market share of more than 85 per cent in the electric passenger four-wheeler segment, followed by MG Motor and Hyundai. The Nexon EV is the largest-selling electric car in India and has an average waiting period of 4-6 months.