Yash Bhatia

Half of biz to come from EVs by 2030: Vivek Srivatsa, Tata Passenger Electric Mobility

The chief commercial officer, explains the plan ahead to grow the EV segment, strategy behind marketing campaigns, and more.

Electric vehicles are projected to contribute 50% of Tata Motors' overall automobile segment sales by 2030, says Vivek Srivatsa, chief commercial officer of Tata Passenger Electric Mobility, in a recent interaction with afaqs!. Currently, it contributes 13-15%.

According to research firm Counterpoint, electric vehicle (EV) sales in India are expected to rise 66% in 2024, after doubling in 2023. The growth can be attributed to supporting infrastructure and state subsidies helping fuel demand. The research also mentions that by 2030, EVs are expected to represent one-third of India’s passenger vehicle market.

Currently, Tata Motors dominates India’s EV market with a 70% market share through its models such as Tiago, Nexon, Tigor, and Punch.

A Comparision of Tata EV offerings
A Comparision of Tata EV offerings

At present, the EV category in India is at an awareness funnel level. Compared to other countries, Srivatsa highlights that EV penetration is much higher: China is at 35%, and the United States is around 20%.

“In India, penetration is around 2.2-2.3%. We expect to reach 5-6% in the next two to three years. Beyond achieving that, the category will grow through word of mouth as there will be enough EVs on the road,” he states.

He predicts that after reaching that level, the category will face competitive pressure and brands' communication will revolve around the superiority of products.

Srivatsa believes that EVs are primarily purchased by regular buyers as a second car in the household, or they become cars for the second or third member of the family. Right now, EVs are treated as additional cars.

“But with Tiago and Punch, 20% of our buyers were first-time car buyers, who are first-time EV buyers as well,” he adds.

In India, the primary driver for EV customers is the cost of running (EV is one-tenth the cost of running a petrol car), and the secondary driver is the comfort of driving—silent driving and quick pickup.

Marketing campaigns

Srivatsa shares that the company is currently undergoing a significant transition phase.

"We are now in a transition phase. So far, early adopters have been the primary buyers of EVs. But now, we’re shifting to the early majority who are first-time EV users. They are not well-informed and rely on word of mouth,” he states.

To address this, Tata Motors launched the #EasytoEV campaign, featuring 8-9 short ad clips of around 20 seconds each. These spots debunk myths about EVs, covering topics such as charging, battery life, maintenance costs, and cost-effectiveness.

He also witnessed customers asking basic questions about EVs while visiting stores. Due to this, the company decided to focus a campaign on clarifying consumers’ minds rather than a product-centric campaign. The campaign was conceptualised by FCB India Group.

For the automobile brand, tier-two and lower towns are delivering more than 45% of the volume, which is why the campaign has a widespread target group. From a channel standpoint, the campaign is on OOH, print, radio, linear TV, connected TV, and more. Digital is contributing about 35-40% of the ad budget.

The EV automobile company made this campaign specifically for this edition of IPL. The brand has been associated with the league since 2018 (Tata Group is the title sponsor of IPL from 2018 to 2024). From 2023, the company participated with EV cars: last year it was Tiago.ev, and this year it was Punch.ev.

For the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, the brand is focusing only on 6-7 Indian matches on both digital and television. One of the reasons for this decision is that non-India matches are scheduled to take place at 6:00 am.

Challenge for the category 

Charging is one of the biggest challenges for the category, as only 15% of all car users have dedicated parking spaces. For those relying on public parking or parking on streets, finding a charging station can be a huge task.

To solve this, the brand is working with numerous charging providers and power operators to set up public and society-level charging stations.

This year, the government has also lowered EV import taxes on certain models if carmakers commit to investing at least $500 million and starting domestic manufacturing within three years, a move seen as a win for foreign automakers.

Srivatsa believes that this decision can help in the growth of the category. "Developments like this are positive as global players will bring their cars, and customers will truly see how mature and advanced the category is,” he adds.

In August 2023, Tata Motors rebranded its EV division as Tata.ev. In December 2023, Tata.ev opened its first showroom dedicated to the EV lineup in Gurgaon.

On this, Srivatsa says, "EV buyers were looking for a different kind of experience. They expect the experience to be more like buying a tech gadget rather than an automobile product." The brand is now looking to expand and will launch exclusive brand outlets across the country.

The Punch was the highest-selling passenger vehicle for two consecutive months in April and March 2024. According to CarDekho, Punch EV accounts for 16% of overall Punch sales between January and March 2024.

Going ahead 

This year, the brand is looking to launch a new car in the EV segment, Tata Curvv. “It will be India’s first SUV Coupe with advanced and aspirational design. We’re looking forward to it,” he says.

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