With more than 71 per cent market stake in the Indian 4-wheeler EV space, Tata Motors is the market leader by quite a margin. Its current range includes the Tiago.ev hatchback, Tigor.ev sub-four-metre sedan, and the recently updated Nexon.ev. All of these are good products but the issue lies in the fact that they are all based on existing platforms. This does cause a constraint to what Tata Motors can actually achieve with their electric cars: range, dynamics, performance, cabin space, to even battery placement. Now, the best way to deal with this scenario would be to have a platform which is dedicated to an all-electric powertrain and then design the rest of the product around it. Guess what, Tata Motors has done just that, with what they call the acti.ev. That name does sound a bit forced, it stands for Advanced Connected Tech-Intelligent Electric Vehicle, and the first car to get it will be all-new Punch.ev.

This is a big deal for Tata, because now we’re looking at a modular EV platform that can be specced to be either front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or even all-wheel drive with electric motors placed at both ends of the vehicle. The new architecture allows improvements in thermal efficiency and battery placement, and Tata is already looking at a 10 per cent increase in volumetric density. Future products are aimed at offering a range of 300 to 600 km on a single charge and with the ability to accept fast charging from 150 kW DC or 11 kW AC. A quick 10-minute top-up will yield a range of 100 km. Sounds too good to be true? We’ll see.

Body styles

The other advantage that Tata has mentioned is that with the platform sorted out, they can now offer a variety of body styles based on it — 5+ new Tata.ev products will be launched in the next 18 months. That’s a lot of new cars, but we aren’t complaining, because it’ll definitely set the precedent for the growing EV market — along with strengthening Tata’s position. These new cars will be ready for five stars from both GNCAP and BNCAP, says the company.

On the inside, with a flat floor, cabin space will be maximised, in addition to boot and frunk space. The platform’s advantages don’t end there, either. With the batteries and motor(s) placed below, the new EVs will have a lower centre of gravity and will thus offer improved driving dynamics. Other inclusions will be in the form of bi-directional charging (an ability to run appliances or even charge another EV), over-the-air firmware updates, improved onboard computing thanks to Snapdragon-powered digital chassis, better human-machine interaction, a wide variety of connected car features, Arcade.ev suite of apps, and 5G. The platform is ready for ADAS L2, and the capabilities can further be extended to L2+.

It’ll be interesting to see how Tata brings all this to reality, but a definite taster will be in the form of the all-new Punch.ev. Highly awaited, the Punch.ev might share its name, design, and tangible bits with the conventionally powered Punch, but it’s going to be underpinned by the new acti.ev platform. Some of the key features announced for the upcoming EV are a useable frunk, six airbags across the range, a large touchscreen infotainment system (in two sizes) with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, cruise control, cornering fog lamps, DC fast charging, etc. The better-specced variants will also include 16-inch alloy wheels, ventilated seats, a 360-degree camera, a blind spot monitor, and a sunroof. Prices and other details are yet to be announced, but it’s clear that there will be five colours and two variants based on range: a standard Punch.ev and Punch.ev Long Range. The former will be available in five trim levels while the latter will have three. There will be an option to choose between a standard 3.3 kW wallbox charger and a faster 7.2 kW fast(er) home charger. Bookings are now open against a deposit of ₹21,000.