Raahil Chopra
Aug 29, 2023

Existing EV customers are brand ambassadors without monetary aspect: Vivek Srivatsa

We caught up with Vivek Srivastsa, head - marketing, sales and service strategy, Tata Passenger Electric Mobility, to learn more about the new brand identity designed for the electric vehicle business

Existing EV customers are brand ambassadors without monetary aspect: Vivek Srivatsa
Tata Passenger Electric Mobility has announced the launch of a new brand identity for its electric vehicle (EV) business, TATA.ev.
With this, Tata Motors aims to show its commitment to sustainability and innovation. As part of the brand identity, TATA.ev has a brand idea ‘move with meaning’. The idea comes on the back of the group reaching the milestone of one lakh EVs sold in India. The brand identity has been developed by Landor & Fitch.
Along with this identity, TATA.ev has also committed to reducing ink usage (print collaterals are designed on a White base) and battery usage (all digital collaterals follow a dark mode approach and are designed on a Black base).
All consumer-facing communication will begin to assume the new brand identity and will be rolled out in a phased manner.
The group also rolled out a film for the same.

On the sidelines of this launch, we caught up with Vivek Srivastsa, head - marketing, sales and service strategy, Tata Passenger Electric Mobility, to learn more about this and the EV business in India.
Edited excerpts:
During the press conference, you mentioned EV customers are different from the ICE customers. How are they different?
They are very different in terms of mindset. When we asked them why they bought an EV, the first or second reason was sustainability. The fact that it’s a zero-tailpipe emission car mattered to them. If you go deeper, these are customers who are very active socially. They aren’t only looking at sustainability, but other areas as well. They could be more fitness-driven people, they are people who are going around the community to tell them the right things to do. I would use the word ‘activist’ in a positive manner to describe them. They make a positive impact and this is prevalent very strongly.
After the car is sold to them, they are in touch to learn things like how the car can be driven better and how the battery life can be extended. They are always ready to become brand ambassadors without the monetary aspect. They are brand evangelists.
If you look at the ICE customers, the approach is completely different. The EV audience is willing to accept that there might be some issues with the software of the car. They’ll wait till solutions are given. The community also sticks together.
Of the one lakh EVs sold, where do you see the majority of your sales coming from?
Surprisingly with the Tiago, we are getting 25% of our sales from smaller towns. That’s probably because of the price point. The adoption of EVs in smaller towns is going to be extremely fast and that’s because of three reasons.
Firstly, EV two-wheelers are already there and people are used to the concept of plugging in and charging their vehicles. The acceptance rate and the growth curve is going to be very fast in smaller towns.
Secondly, in cities, you have parking issues so you may not be able to get your dedicated charger but that’s not an issue in smaller towns.
They are also more oriented towards lower costs of operations. These three things are pointing towards a very fast adoption in smaller towns.
The perception is that the EV is the second or third car in the household. Is that true? How can this change?
It is correct but rapidly changing. Once an EV comes into the household, it becomes the first choice of car. This is because people are very comfortable driving the EV. It’s noiseless and easy to drive. It’s cheap too. There are so many of our customers who say I’ve got a premium car at home but I drive only the EV and is the only car I need.
Women find it easier to drive too. For the Tiago, 25% of our buyers are women. That’s double the industry average.
We see that it takes users a month for the learning curve but after that, they become confident and comfortable. They know exactly the range they’ll get. We see people going down to a range of 10-15 kilometres and are comfortable with it. It’s like a mobile phone.
Then after two or three months, they start going on longer inter-city drives. We see plenty of EVs on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway because customers know exactly where the chargers are, how much they can run it. The range anxiety disappears.
Some naysayers doubt EVs are cleaner and are the future. What’s your take on this?
It’s all about the source of power. Data shows that even if it’s power generated by unsustainable sources, over the life cycle of the EV, it’s still better for the environment. The lifecycle of an EV is long. The battery life is more than 14-15 years. Most of the time, the battery outlasts the car. You can run an EV for 10 lakh kilometres because inherently it’s more robust. An EV has fewer moving parts so lesser vibration, so the body itself lasts longer. So the first element of sustainability is long use.
The battery can be used even after the car is used. The battery can be used as an inverter at home or to drive some public utilities.
This is even if the power source isn’t clean. But the world is moving to cleaner energy. Every single large industry is committed to this. Solar, wind and other sustainable sources are going up. In the next three years, 60-70% of our power will be clean in India too. So once power becomes clean, EVs are a no-brainer. People talk about battery disposal, but even engines need to be disposed.
Do you think this competition of EVs versus ICE will always be prevalent?
For some time. For the next decade, this will be on but beyond that, the reality is it will be an electric future.
Since Tata’s EVs are now in the top seven overall sales for vehicles in India, do you plan on making EV-only retail points?
It’s a strategy we are still working on. It makes sense but when, where and how we’ll share updates soon.
What are the marketing plans for the upcoming cricket season?
I can’t comment on the ICE side of the business, but with some launches coming up we should be there.
Campaign India

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