EVs to account for 25% of Tata Motors' PV sales: N Chandrasekaran

N Chandrasekaran, chairman, Tata Sons
Electric vehicles (EVs) could constitute about 25 per cent of the total passenger vehicle sales at Tata Motors “in the medium to long term”, said the company on Friday, as it seeks to ride the electrification trend in the country.

The automobile major will announce its fundraising plans to support the EV business, N Chandrasekaran, chairman, Tata Motors, told shareholders at the company’s 76th annual general meeting. At present, EVs account for 2 per cent of the company’s passenger vehicle (PV) sales.  

Tata Motors has a very ambitious goal for EVs. We have planned at least 25 per cent of our total PV sales to come from electric in the medium to long term,” Chandrasekaran said. “We will launch 10 EV models before 2025. We have aggressive growth plans, and towards this, we will also raise capital at an appropriate time. The company is also looking to set up a battery plant outside of Tata Motors,” he added.

As part of the plan, the company will launch the e-Tigor with a higher range during the current financial year. It will also bring “more affordable” vehicles to target the mass market. Most other manufacturers, as of now, have their products positioned in the premium end of the market. 

Plans are also afoot to set up 10,000 charging points in 25 cities with Tata Power in the coming years, he said. The company is also working on hydrogen and fuel cell technology. It has seven hydrogen buses that are in the trial stage, and it has got the first order of 15 buses from Indian Oil Corp, Chandrasekaran said.

“Within PV, the performance of the EV business is particularly noteworthy. We strengthened our market leadership to 71.4 per cent, led by sales of more than 4,000 Nexon EV units since its launch last year,” he said. Tata Motors sold a total of 222,025 PV units in FY21, up 69 per cent year-on-year. It was the only company in the PV segment to see such a significant jump in sales.

During the two-and-half hours virtual AGM, multiple shareholders expressed concern over non-payment of dividend, high debt levels, and steep losses incurred by the company on account of the UK subsidiary, Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Plc. This is the fifth straight year for which the maker of Safari and Harrier models has failed to pay dividend. It had a good track record till FY16.

“For senior citizens like us, income from the bank and dividend income are the only sources of livelihood,” said an aggrieved shareholder. In his response, Chandrasekaran said, “We understand your concern and we hope to become a dividend paying company very soon.”

At the end of FY21, Tata Motors’ net automotive debt stood at Rs 40,876 crore, down from Rs 48,282 crore a year ago. “We are on track to reduce to achieve net zero auto debt in three years,” said Chandrasekaran, assuaging the shareholders’ concerns.

It will be done through a combination of operational cash flow and monetisation of non-core assets. Net loss at the consolidated entity at the end of FY21 widened to Rs 13,395 crore from Rs 11,975 crore in the previous fiscal.

In response to a question on the chip shortage and its impact on the overall business, Chandrasekaran said he expected the supply related issues to get resolved by the second half of the current year. He assured the shareholders that there is unlikely to be more impairment in the coming years.

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