THE NEW WAY
Overdrive|July 2021
TWO EXTREMES OF WHICH ARE REPRESENTED BY THE JAGUAR I-PACE AND THE TATA NEXON EV, BOTH FROM TATA MOTORS
TUHIN GUHA

Imagine you’ve done something one way for a very long time, and naturally, perfected the art of it. But now almost overnight this process is racing towards obsolescence. That’s the situation with every automaker in the world right now, as we give up piston-engined cars for EVs.

Tata Motors finds itself in this race too, with the Tata Nexon EV at one end and the Jaguar I-Pace at the other. A unique position no doubt. We can think of very few carmakers globally who have managed to address the electrification needs of two very different buyers across equally differing market conditions.

The Pioneers

As far apart as the Jaguar I-Pace and the Tata Nexon EV are from one another, they do share a common trait. Both have been first-movers, coming from seemingly out of nowhere and being able to react very quickly to the rising awareness about electric mobility among buyers.

When Jaguar unveiled the I-Pace globally in March 2018, it became the first of the traditional luxury carmakers to mount a convincing challenge to the disruption that Tesla brought with the Model S. Mercedes Benz, BMW and Audi have all reacted since then with competitors but apart from the Volkswagen Group’s MEB which came later, the Jaguar is still the only one to be built around a bespoke EV architecture. To put this in context, Tesla is the most valuable car company in the world and the Volkswagen Group has become the largest carmaker in the world almost entirely on the back of its engineering and production expertise.

This bespoke architecture is also one of the reasons the Jaguar I-Pace looks so unique, with its long wheelbase, wide track widths, and short overhangs. It doesn’t quite fit into any particular traditional Bodystyle and is even built in a dedicated production line in Austria with Magna Steyr. That’s in complete contrast to the Tata Nexon EV. The Nexon EV is based on the standard Nexon’s X1 platform, again a great example of frugal Indian engineering. The motor and power electronics fit into the engine bay and the underfloor battery has been fitted intelligently enough to not impede cabin space.

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