Bigger and luxurious electric cars may drive into govt departments

Mahindra & Mahindra 
The officials in government departments may soon get to ride bigger and luxurious electric sedans. Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), the firm that is purchasing another 10,000 electric cars through a tender, wants to source at least 2,000 big sedans. The second tender has been revised to accommodate this change and the bid deadline has been extended by a month to May 25.

“We have extended the dates of the second electric car tender. While the cars we procured in first tender suffice the government requirements, the whole electric vehicle programme was intended to promote e-mobility in a larger way. Therefore, it is also important to try and get cars which are slightly better than the existing ones. We have extended the time initially for one month and then we will see how the industry responds,” Saurabh Kumar, managing director at EESL told Business Standard.

In the first tender, which was finalised in October, EESL awarded orders to home-grown companies Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M). Tata Motors’ is supplying an electric variant of its Tigor mid-size sedan, while M&M is selling its e-Verito. In all likelihood, these two auto majors may end up getting bulk of the orders in the second tender as well due to lack of preparedness among other manufacturers.

Kumar said the decision to seek bigger sedans was not based on any feedback or suggestion from the government departments that were using the Tigor/Verito. 

“I do not know whether bigger electric cars are being made in India. But they can certainly be made like Tata was able to make the e-Tigor. This opens up the market for other players. Competition goes up,” said Kumar. EESL hopes it can start serving some corporate clients as well if it gets a better variety of e-cars.

EESL procures these cars and offers them on lease to users. Officials in the ministry of power, members of the finance commission, and officials of power sector companies such as the NTPC and others are using the e-Tigor and e-Verito. “It is peak summer Delhi. There is no complaint about the functionality of the car. Certain departments have reneged their old contracts and electric car is the only vehicle available,” he added.

Besides servicing demands from the central government, EESL has also signed agreements to cater e-cars to states like Andhra Pradesh (10,000 e-cars). It is in the process of inking similar arrangement for 8,000 e-cars with Gujarat and 2,000 e-cars with Maharashtra.

Manufacturers can bid for smaller electric sedans as well as the bigger ones in the current tender. EESL will go ahead with the tender even if it is able to get bids for supply of only smaller sedans. The earlier date for making the online bids has been extended to May 25. Kumar said the department of heavy industry was bringing some specifications for setting up of different kinds of charging stations that would allow quick charging of premium electric cars. 

A price of Rs 1.016 million was quoted by Tata Motors for e-Tigor in the first tender and M&M had to lower the price of e-Verito to qualify for the orders. The prices in the next tender could be even lower.

However, if EESL receives bids for the premium electric cars, their prices will be significantly higher.

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