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Posted on August 2, 2010 by  & 

Electric vehicles in India - Part one

The world's largest democracy, India, is often dismissed as a source of manufactured goods. Wrongly, the attitude has been that India will be little more than a source of cheap labour in manufacturing, something The world's largest democracy, India, is often dismissed as a source of manufactured goods. Wrongly, the attitude has been that India will be little more than a source of cheap labour in manufacturing, something easily matched by other emerging nations. However, its huge and successful software industry shows that there is more to India than that. In electric vehicles, it is true that India has no significant traction battery industry beyond yesterday's lead acid batteries but, like China, it has been buying Western car manufacturers and investing in state of the art technology for electric vehicles, including those batteries. There are already many manufacturers of traction motors in India and a huge nascent market for everything automotive. In the next twelve months at least ten new electric vehicles will enter production in India, from buses, rickshaws and bikes to forklifts.
Addressing the needs of India for extremely basic electric cars has already provided an export business at the bottom of the market but that is only part of the story. For example, Indian motor companies are merging to gain strength and foreign motor manufacturers are poised to produce electric vehicles in India nowadays. Most of the local companies have something to learn about marketing. For instance, on Google, you cannot find pictures or specifications of many EVs made in India today but that will change.
Tata Motors
Tata Motors is moving fast. It is India's largest automobile company, with revenues of about US$ 10 billion. Through subsidiaries and associate companies, Tata Motors has operations in the UK, South Korea, Thailand and Spain, besides India. Among them are their subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover in the UK, and there is an industrial joint venture with Fiat in India. With over 4 million Tata vehicles plying in India, Tata Motors is the country's market leader in commercial vehicles and among the top three in passenger vehicles. It is also the world's fourth largest truck manufacturer and the second largest bus manufacturer. Tata cars, buses and trucks are being marketed in several countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia and South America. In 2009, Tata launched the Tata Nano, initially with gasoline engine, as one of the world's lowest cost on road passenger cars. In May, 2010, Tata Motors announced annual net revenue growth of 30.5%.
Annual expenditure on R&D is approximately 2% of our turnover and it has set up two in-house Engineering Research Centres that house India's only Certified Crash Test Facility. It has collaboration with Fiat.
In 2008, Ford sold both Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata Motors for about $2.3 billion. As part of the deal, Ford continues to supply powertrains, stampings and other unnamed vehicle components to Tata for "differing periods", as well as R&D research, environmental and platform technologies, and even accounting services, among others.
In the subsequent two years from Tata's purchase of Jaguar Land Rover, commentators have opined that Tata overpaid given the collapse in sales due to the global financial meltdown. They miss the point that, like the Chinese, the Indians are playing a long game. Indeed, the purchase of Jaguar Land Rover may prove more valuable to the Indians than the purchase of Volvo and the manufacturer of the London taxis Manganese Bronze will prove valuable to the Chinese. They get highly respected global brands under which they can sell products made in India. They save time in obtaining technology and it all fits in nicely with long term work going on hybrids and pure electric vehicles. Tata Motors is expected to launch two electric vehicles (EVs) in select European countries by March of 2011. The company's vice chairman, Ravi Kant, recently announced that it has two EVs scheduled for launch in the UK including battery-powered variants of the Indica Vista hatchback and its Ace, a light-duty commercial mini-truck. The EVs will appear first in the UK, followed by an introduction in Scandinavian nations (Norway, Denmark and Sweden) at a later date. We further discuss Tata Motors in Part Two.
For more attend Future of Electric Vehicles which uniquely covers the whole electric vehicle market - land, sea, air whether hybrid or pure EV - with emphasis on future breakthroughs. KPIT Cummins of India will present at this conference on an affodable hybrid conversions and IDTechEx will give a detailed forecast for the East Asian market for all forms of electric vehicle from military to cars, boats and forklifts - the only comprehensive analysis currently available.

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Posted on: August 2, 2010

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