Jaguar launches its first electric SUV in India but not many may be able to afford it

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Jaguar's I pace | Jaguar
Jaguar’s I pace | Jaguar


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Bengaluru: Jaguar Land Rover unveiled its all-electric SUV in India on Tuesday but its sticker price — twice that of an entry-level Tesla Inc. — will put it out of reach of most consumers in the South Asian nation.

The I-Pace’s starting price is 10.6 million rupees ($147,000), which compares to an estimated cost of around $68,000 for a Model 3 after export expenses. That’s going to be a tough sell considering that in India, about 75% of all auto sales occur in the $10,000 and under bracket.

Jaguar is hoping to make inroads in a market where the shift to electric vehicles is happening far more slowly than other parts of the world due to a lack of charging infrastructure, high costs of battery powered-models and a reluctance by banks to finance purchases. By 2040, only about one-third of new passenger cars sold will be battery-powered in India, versus around 70% in China and Germany, according to BloombergNEF.

Jaguar’s I-Pace has failed to dent Tesla’s electric-car dominance in other markets like America, with the British brand’s sales running at roughly half of what the carmaker expected. Still, a growing awareness about pollution, the Indian government’s policy push and more carmakers launching green vehicles will drive demand, Jaguar Land Rover India President Rohit Suri said.

“The Indian market is warming up to the prospects of electric vehicles,” Suri said, adding that EVs have a lower cost of running, are easy to maintain, create less noise pollution and have zero tail-pipe emissions. “EVs are a great alternative to conventional vehicles.”

To charge the I-Pace, customers can either use a home charging cable or a 7.4 kilowatt AC wall-mounted charger, with both provided with the vehicle. Tata Power Co. and Jaguar retailers will install the charger at the customer’s house. Buyers can also access Tata Power’s network of 200 chargers across the country on a use-and-pay basis.

Jaguar Land Rover, owned by India’s Tata Motors Ltd., also said its retailer network across 19 cities in India is EV ready. The group globally plans to introduce six fully electric Land Rover variants in the next five years and by 2030, expects all of its Jaguar models and 60% of Land Rovers sold to be zero-emissions vehicles.

“Given the high appeal and desirability of the Jaguar brand, we are confident that Jaguar I-Pace will be one of best-selling EVs in the country,” Suri said.

Although India cut the goods and services tax on EVs to 5% from 12%, effective August 2019, much lower than the levies of as much as 28% slapped on other motor vehicles, EVs currently account for less than 1% of all car sales in the country. – Bloomberg


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