Tata Motors is gearing up to strengthen its R&D with fresh hiring as well as upskilling of the current employees this fiscal year in order to scale up capabilities across various business verticals, including the electric vehicle segment, as per a top company official. In the EV space, the company is looking to enhance its expertise in the area of battery packs and vehicle architecture, among others.
“As far as hiring in R&D is concerned we are going for major hiring, especially this year, but there is also another area which we have looked into very deeply and that is upskilling the current engineers within R&D,” Tata Motors President Passenger Vehicle and Electric Vehicles Shailesh Chandra said in an analyst call.
It is going to be a big component of how the company is planning to really expand its R&D base, he added.
The Mumbai-based auto major, in line with its growth aspirations and business plans for the next few years, is hiring across various verticals like advanced engineering, product development, supply chain, operations and commercial functions at different levels.
Chandra noted that there would be enhanced collaborations with other group entities, including JLR going ahead to enhance capabilities.
“There is a lot of collaboration which will happen with various Tata companies, including JLR. So capabilities will not be only… limited to within Tata Motors, but also seeing the opportunities of synergies with JLR as well as other Tata companies, which have a lot of capability in the area of softwares. So, these are the areas where we are focusing on,” Chandra stated.
In the EV space, Chandra said the company has started to develop capabilities in the area of battery packs, motor design, new architectures, among other critical functionalities.
On a query regarding synergies in the EV space, he said: “We have really looked at each of the segments in CVs as well as PV, fleet as well as the personal segment, and we are trying to see where potential synergies can be in the area of motor as far as in the area of batteries, especially the chemistry that we would like to choose, the form factors and as well as the CE rating because of the fast-charging capability and all.”
There are certain areas where the auto major has seen convergence, especially small commercial vehicles and the fleet segment and PVs, Chandra said.
“There are certain commonalities that we have seen in the low voltage category… we have taken a view of our next four years, five years. And we clearly have certain alignments as far as the choice of chemistry is concerned,” he added.
Chandra further said: ” So it’s an ongoing exercise as of the year going, we are expanding, different segments require different kinds of choices to be made, different power ratings and therefore, there are areas of synergies, but also areas where we have to be different.”
He noted that when the company started its EV business, it hired an offline arrangement of fitting EV powertrains which used to lead to capacity issues.
“But for all our products, now we have integrated in our main assembly line. So literally, we can fully convert the ICE (internal combustion engine) capacity into EV, so internal capacity is not an issue,” Chandra stated.
The company also has a very comprehensive plan based on the volume projections, to add new lines in the area of battery packs, driveline and power electronics items, he stated.
“So as far as capacity is concerned, we are absolutely on track, something which is really stopping, also restricting us to unleash the pull potential of demand that is out there is the issue of semiconductors,” Chandra said.