Aimed at greener feeder transport and last-mile connectivity in urban landscapes.
Tata Motors has recently revealed a bunch of people movers and LCVs running on alternative fuels and energy sources at its manufacturing plant in Pune, as a prelude to its future and sustainable mobility solutions. This includes the Starbus Hybrid, Starbus Electric, Starbus Fuel Cell Hydrogen bus, LNG bus, 18-metre vestibule bus (articulated), and Ultra Electric mini-bus.
Apart from large buses, the company also presented its innovative electric light commercial vehicles including Super ACE EV, Magic EV, and Magic IRIS EV. The trio, pretty-much based on their diesel-power models except for the battery-electric powertrains, can set new standards for the intra-city feeder and last-mile connectivity in India.
To start with, the Super ACE EV is powered by a 20.7 kWh Lithium-ion battery that powers a permanent magnet AC motor to propel the rear wheels. With a rated payload capacity of 600 kgs against a GVW of 1,750 kgs, the tiny electric truck boasts a driving range around 100 kms on a single charge. The company claims a top speed for 80 kmph for the Super ACE EV. Rest of the features and equipment are same as the regular diesel-powered Super Ace.
The Magic electric, on the other hand, features a 12.6 volt, 180 Ah batteries coupled with regenerative braking technology. Together, the vehicle gets a power rating of 15 kW and can hit a top speed of 40 kmph, with a total driving range of 50 kms on full charge. Recharging may take 8-12 hours. Although these power and range figures of this prototype are far lower than one would expect, we have to keep in mind that the production versions may boast improved capacities.
The teeny-tiny Magic IRIS electric is run by a 9 kW traction motor generating a peak torque of 42 Nm. Powering the motor is a 48 volt, 110 Ah Lithium-ion battery pack, which can be recharged in around 8 hours using a plug-in adapter. But the talking point of this vehicle is the supplementary charging using a 120 watt solar panel mounted over the roof – the first of its kind in India. The 4-seater IRIS electric can run up to 100 kms on a single charge, as per company sources.
Tata Motors is keen on bringing the production-version of these EV prototypes, although higher product costs and limited driving range poses a serious hurdle in the business viability of these vehicles. Although entitled for various subsidies and incentives from the Union government, lowered input costs and improved technology is likely to plan a major role in boosting the sales on EVs in India in the years to come.