The newspaper echoes the concerns of the European car industry, which takes a dim view of the arrival of cheap electric cars from China. What if there is something cheaper? What if India beats the cost prices of Chinese manufacturers?
This is suggested by the announcement made by Tata Motors — India’s second-largest automaker but the number one electric car maker — of marketing a small car that seems to offer all the attractions of a Dacia Spring with the same length ( 3.75 meters) , for less. Unveiled on September 28 in New Delhi, the Tata Tiago.ev is priced at 849,000 rupees (or 8.49 lakhs), equivalent to over 10,000 dollars and 10,587 euros. Dacia Spring starts at 19,800 euros, not deducting the ecological bonus.
Tata Motors benefits from cheap, skilled labor in India
The strongest thing is that the price on this floor is not obtained at the expense of the presentation of the car, which is rather attractive. The Tiago.ev is the 100% electric-powered variant of a beautifully designed small car, taking on the locally made Renault Kwid. Tata Motors has denied aiming for the lowest possible selling price. No doubt burned by the bitter failure of its mini Nano car (simplified to the point of difficulty), the manufacturer tried not to make its car difficult. Tiago.ev offers some refinements, such as this touch screen and connected.
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The advantage of extremely competitive Indian labor costs alone does not explain the Tata Tiago.ev’s impressive price modesty. Its designers still had to make some concessions in terms of performance.
A low price but a moderate autonomy
Knowing that “the battery represents 50% to 70% of the cost price of an electric vehicle”, as recalled by BloombergNEF, the Tata Tiago.ev should be satisfied with a very moderate reserve of electrical energy which is only 19, 2 kWh. You have to pay 1,079,000 rupees (13,422 euros) to access the higher version of Tiago.ev, equipped with a 24 kWh battery. This is lower than the 27.4 kWh enjoyed by the Dacia Spring sold in Europe.
The latter is given for a range of 230 kilometers but the differences between the terms of the European WLTP certification protocol and the Indian protocol MIDC (Modified Indian Driving Cycle) make the comparison dangerous. The 19.2 kWh variant of the Tata Tiago.ev is said to cover 250 kilometers on a single charge, rising to 315 kilometers for the 24 kWh version.
The electric Tata Tiago is not planned for Europe
Despite its economical design, the Tata Tiago.ev will see its price go beyond the first ten thousand copies, its manufacturer warns. Two thousand of the first ten thousand vehicles produced are reserved for owners of the Tata Nexon EV and Tigor EV models. A way of thanking these pioneers of electricity.
Reservations for the Tata Tiago.ev will open from October 10, 2022. The first deliveries should take place in India in January 2023. At the time of writing these lines, there is no information to suggest any intention on the part of Tata Motors to distribute its small electric car in Europe. The most optimistic would argue that the absence of any distribution network no longer constitutes an insurmountable obstacle, since there is the possibility to contact an existing network of repairers and go through the channel of direct online that sales. .
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However, this argument does not detract from the fact that the Tata Tiago.ev is unlikely to be designed according to the standards enforced in Europe. Compliance can be problematic, in terms of making the vehicle heavier as well as increasing its price. Dacia Spring asserts its advantage here. Its designers are the pioneers and world champions of a so-called “backward” mode of design and innovation, which questions all the achievements of an industry in order to reduce costs.
As he did in 2017 in collaboration with Bernard Jullien and Yannick Lung for the Renault Kwid project (“Innovating upside down – rethinking strategy and design in a frugal world”, in Dunod), Christophe Midler recounts with Marc Alochet and Christophe de Charentenay the industrial, strategic and managerial adventure of Dacia Spring in a book published by Dunod editions. Available in bookstores under the title: “Spring’s odyssey — history and lessons of an impossible project” (EAN 13: 978200836475).