One of the great things about visiting new places as a journalist is you get to look differently at what you see. The Geneva Motor Show is different because I don’t just look at what triggers my fancy. I look for what is there to write about for CleanTechnica readers. Without that purpose, I probably would not have visited the show at all.
I visit the show looking for all things related to electric mobility, ignoring everything that has a tailpipe or is supporting things with tailpipes. Sometimes one finds the most surprising things in the least likely places. Last year that was the case with TATA.
Seeing TATA announced in the furthest corner of the show, literally beside the exit of the last hall, was weird. What was a steel company doing at a motor show. TATA is nearly synonymous with TATA Steal, which is buying large parts of the European steel industry. I then discovered there is another division of the TATA conglomerate called TATA Motors. It is approximately the largest carmaker in India, and comparable in size to Mitsubishi. And, of course, it was TATA Motors that was present in Geneva.
Last year, TATA was showing a beautiful large fully electric sedan concept. In my eyes, it was nearly production ready. Provide it as a company car to all the top managers of TATA Steel in Europe and you would have an instant competitor to Tesla in Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands. Regretfully, it needed some work on the drivetrain. TATA has been considering plans to enter the European markets for years, but the Indian company apparently has not yet make up its mind.
Preparing for a possible future entrance into the European market, TATA was present with models and concept cars in Geneva last year for the 20th time, making this year the 21st time.
It appears the presence in Geneva has another purpose, too. At the press conference that every carmaker has at the show, the attending press was almost purely Indian. The models shown were right-hand drive models for the Indian market. The world’s most prestigious motor show was the location for TATA Motors to show it new models and future direction to the Indian public and press. Mystery solved.
Back to the cars. Was there anything for Europe aside from last year’s concept car? Could TATA enter the European market with a positive addition to our choice of products?
The new Altroz EV would absolutely be a great addition to our markets. Too many of the new BEVs are a bit futuristic, and we still have a large market for conservative buyers — people longing for a new car that looks like last year’s car. With a range comparable to the current Leaf or Zoe, the Altroz EV would be on the lower border of acceptable. Really fast charging is lacking, too. But the price is in accordance with those limited specs.
It is time for TATA to take the plunge and start selling this in Europe. Start in countries where the name is at least a bit familiar, like Britain, the Netherlands, and Germany.
I am sorry to say for the many people in the USA who are waiting for a good and affordable car, the US market is at the moment too expensive to enter, in the opinion of TATA.
Photos by Jos Olijve