Tata Motors may Launch Electric Indica by 2011

The electric car will be developed in association with the company’s Norway based Miljøbil Grenland/Innovasjon, in which Tata owns a 50.3% stake, and feasibility study for the small electric vehicle will commence next year. The electric vehicles will be launched in India and Europe simultaneously.

"It will be available for India at around the same time as the global launch. It will be launched in Norway, Denmark and the UK in 12-14 months. We’re evaluating the option of an Indian launch, but are still not sure if the electric vehicles (EVs) are the best option for the country”, said Mr Prakash M Telang, Managing Director, India Operations, and Tata Motors.

The company, while asserting the need for environment friendly automobiles, shared concerns about the cost of these vehicles, which are 70-150% more expensive than their petrol or diesel based counterparts, and said that before a domestic launch happens, this will need looking into.

Tata Motors had unveiled its electric car at the Auto Expo last year. The company will start a feasibility study by next year for introducing the product in the domestic market.

When asked if the company has initiated the market study, he said, “not at the moment. We will start (the feasibility study) closer to when we have the product ready. We will do it from next year.”

The India’s largest auto company has been developing the electric Indica with a Norwegian firm for launching in the British, Norwegian and Danish markets by 2011, which will mark the global launch of the electric car. Its domestic introduction would depend on the cost factor as it is a price-sensitive market, Telang added.

“We have to look into the cost equation here. We have to see the market demand as it will be an expensive vehicle. Electricity is also not easily available in India,” Telang said, adding electric vehicles are generally 70-150 per cent more expensive on current status depending on the choice of batteries.  He, however, added, “the electric car will certainly be suitable for Indian roads.”

On the Nano he said, the company is currently producing 3,000-4,000 units a month and will be starting trial production at the Sanand plant by the fourth quarter of this fiscal. “After that we will ramp up to full-scale production by the end of 2010,” Telang added.