Tata Passenger Electric Mobility has recently introduced its new brand identity, TATA.ev, and the company has also incorporated this identity into the facelift version of the Nexon EV. The company has included “gadgetisation” and digitalisation into the new Nexon EV. Gadgets 360 got a chance to sit down with Vivek Srivatsa, Head of Marketing, Sales, and Service Strategy at Tata Passenger Electric Mobility, to gain insights into this development and company’s future plan. Some responses have been edited and condensed for clarity.
Gadgets 360: Tata Passenger Electric Mobility has announced a new brand identity for its electric vehicle (EV) business called TATA.ev. Why did Company feel this need?
Vivek Srivatsa: This is with a vision toward the future because our EV customers are clearly telling us that they want a significantly different experience. Our community is a very big thing for us. They want to make a positive environmental impact and, of course, expect a high level of technology both in the product and the overall customer experience. So, we thought it was time to offer them this new experience with Tata.ev.
The brand name Tata.ev and the new brand design will be applied to various touchpoints, products, and services in the future. A small element of this transformation is renaming the Nexon to Nexon.ev. But you will notice significant design changes both externally and internally in the car, all aimed at providing a more premium and gadgetised experience, is what we are trying to push. The change in brand design and name serves as a signal to ourselves that we must be prepared to deliver an exceptionally premium and advanced experience to our customers.
Gadgets 360: As the company’s vehicle portfolio continues to expand, are you opening a new showroom under the name Tata.ev, exclusively dedicated to selling electric vehicles?
Vivek Srivatsa: As of now, there are no such plans, but we do recognise the need for it as our portfolio continues to grow on both fronts. To justify this wide product portfolio definitely there is need for very large showrooms or independent stores. So we are not yet confirming this, but there is clear need and it’s a possibility in the future.
Gadgets 360: How EV buyers are different from ICE vehicle buyers?
Vivek Srivatsa: That is very clear, EV customers are very different than ICE car buyers. Their mindset is similar to that of a tech and gadget enthusiast. Firstly, they expect a very high level of customer experience, and secondly, they expect a lot of responsiveness from the company. Their expectation is that the company should listen to them and take feedback to improve the product and service. It should be a situation where the company is in constant communication with the customer.
In the traditional ICE industry, there is a belief that the less customers communicate with the company, the better the vehicle performs on the roads. But in the EV industry, customers now want to discuss both good and bad points with the company in the forum. We have taken this matter very seriously and are constantly talking to our owner community. We also keep doing online programs and offline events for the community. Current community is a very big part of our future growth.
Gadgets 360: How tech is important to boost EV sales?
Vivek Srivatsa: You know that Nexon EV is very gadgetised and digitised. We have given a lot of electronics in the car. We have a larger touchscreen with built-in app support, Arcade.ev, a modern music system, and the exterior lighting signature is also inspired by tech. The welcome message, goodbye message, and the exterior charging indicator of the car feature unique lighting, all inspired by the tech industry. We have incorporated all these features in response to the demands of EV customers. Software upgrades that will be available through over-the-air (OTA) updates. We firmly believe that the EV sector will flourish when customers have access to a digitized experience.
Gadgets 360: What challenges still remain for the growth of electric vehicles in India? What are you doing to accomplish it and what kind of support do you need from the government?
Vivek Srivatsa: Challenges obviously are largely around charging infrastructure. On one side there is highway charging which, no matter how much we build, won’t be enough. Customers will need predictable or frequent charging infrastructure. Ideally, there should be charging points wherever there are petrol pumps. Thanks to the oil companies that have decided to enter this business and install at least one or two charging points in every petrol pump. They have the intent, but the speed of setting up charging stations is not visible yet, that’s why this is a big challenge.
The second challenge is that people in cities have a big problem regarding car parking, in such a situation home charging is also of no use. However, we are working on community charging solutions that can provide eight to 10 charging points in a single location, serving residents in an area or complex efficiently. According to me, installing one charger for each vehicle is overkill, because most people will have to charge their vehicles only twice a week and the rest of the time will be free. In such a situation, community chargers will not only be efficient for the customers but we will also be able to make optimum utilization of resources. If our plan of community charger becomes successful, then we will definitely see a huge growth in the EV sector.
Gadgets 360: What have been the company’s EV sales so far, and what are the company’s targets and plans for this financial year?
Vivek Srivatsa: We recently celebrated the milestone of 1,00,000 EV sales, and by now, this figure has likely increased by approximately 3,000 to 4,000 more cars. The Nexon accounts for 53 percent of these sales. Our target is to have at least 10 cars in our portfolio by 2025. With EVs, we target 25 perent penetration in our portfolio by 2025 and 50 by 2030.