Tata Nexon EV: Delhi govt suspends subsidy to the electric car

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The Delhi Government on Monday suspended subsidy to Tata Motors’ Nexon EV pending an enquiry by a committee after it received a complaint from a user who alleged sub-standard range on the electric vehicle (EV).

“We (are) committed to support EVs, but not at the cost of trust (and) confidence of citizens in claims by manufacturers,” Kailash Gahlot, Transport & Environment Minister of Delhi said on Twitter.

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The Delhi Transport Department claimed that it received a plaint from a customer named Rajesh Kumar of New Delhi who claimed to have never gotten more than 200 kilometers per charge on his Nexon EV despite Tata Motors claiming 312 kilometers of range on a full battery.

A show cause notice was issued to Tata Motors on 8 February by the state government asking the automaker why its model not be disqualified for subsidies, the transport department said in its order on Monday.

The order also cited a widely-shared video posted on Twitter by a person who identified himself as Dr Manoj Sharma, a Delhi-based orthopaedic surgeon, making similar allegations of non-performance from his Nexon EV. It claimed that this proved that Kumar’s complaint was not an isolated incident.

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“It is unfortunate to receive this order from the Delhi Transport Commission. We will continue to engage constructively with relevant authorities to protect the interests of our customers,” Tata Motors said in a statement.

The 312-kilometer range for the electric car was based on the certification received from the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), which is a certified body that independently tests all mass-produced vehicles, the automaker said.

“As with conventional vehicles (with IC engines), the actual range achieved in EVs is dependent on AC usage, individual driving style and the actual conditions in which the vehicle is driven. The range achievement is also a function of familiarity with the new technology, and customers report improvements upwards of 10% within 4-6 weeks of familiarity,” the statement further read.

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The Delhi Government had announced its EV policy in August 2020 that extended user subsidies of up to Rs 10,000 per kWh of battery capacity on electric cars for the first 1,000 such vehicles sold in Delhi. The Nexon EV had qualified for this subsidy. The road tax and registration fee of such vehicles was also waived off.

The transport department in its order said that if vehicles did not meet their range claims, it could discourage consumers from adopting them and hence strict action had to be taken. All benefits provided to Nexon EV buyers by the Delhi government stay suspended till the time the appointed committee submits its report and a final decision is taken.

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