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Explained: Northway Motors’ Aftermarket Electric Conversion Kit For Tata Ace With Range Up To 350 Km

Modified On Jun 10, 2024 03:35 PMBy Ketan Birla

Pune-based Northway Motors has come up with a Tata Ace electric conversion kit to enhance the driving range without frequent recharging. Let’s explore the aftermarket EV kit and its reliability in India.

Key Highlights

  • Northway Motors offers a retrofitted electric vehicle kit for Tata Ace models with a long range of up to 350 km.
  • Conventional electric haulage trucks need to recharge its battery frequently which impacts fleet uptime and fleet performance.
  • Northway’s EV kit comes with a 39 kWh battery capacity, which is much more than the 21.3 kWh battery capacity of the new Tata Ace EV.
  • The process of converting the ICE-powered vehicle into an electric vehicle is legal in India provided one follows the guidelines of ARAI.
  • With the high price of an aftermarket electric conversion kit, the new retrofitted Tata Ace electric vehicle is available at Rs 14.5 lakh.

Do you want to sell your old ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle and buy an electric variant to boost business profitability? If that’s the case, then you do not need to worry because the vehicle, which has been supporting you till now, will now support you in business by becoming an electric vehicle (EV). With the advent of retrofitted EV kits, this could happen in the Indian commercial vehicle industry.

Recently, Northway Motors, a Pune-based company, has successfully tested the retro-fitment of an EV kit in the ICE-powered Tata Ace Gold for both intercity and intracity haulage applications. The company offers the Tata Ace EV long-range kit, which is equipped with a 39 kWh battery pack to deliver an improved range of around 270 km in fully loaded condition, 300 km in semi-loaded condition, and 350 km in empty condition.  

Related Link: National Stock Exchange Unveils India’s First Electric Vehicle Index To Track EV Ecosystem

What Is An Aftermarket EV Conversion Kit?

A set of parts called an electric vehicle conversion kit makes it possible to convert a conventional commercial vehicle into an electric commercial vehicle. Generally speaking, an electric motor, controller, battery pack, and charger are the main parts of an EV conversion kit. Together, these parts enable the vehicle to function entirely on electricity by replacing the internal combustion engine and fuel system.

Compared to purchasing a brand-new electric vehicle, converting an old commercial vehicle to an electric one can be far less expensive. Additionally, it enables people to reuse their existing vehicles with reduced emissions and enhanced sustainability. Aftermarket EV conversion kits offer a cost-effective and practical alternative to buying a brand-new EV and it can be fitted in a variety of commercial vehicles, like the light-duty Tata Ace.

What Are The Benefits Of Retrofitted Electric Vehicles?

Conventional electric transport vehicles frequently need to be recharged, which badly affects fleet uptime and causes unanticipated losses for fleet operators or business owners. Furthermore, regular fast charging degrades the battery's health at a faster rate and reduces its battery life. Given India’s weak charging infrastructure with fewer charging ports, frequent charging involves waiting time.

To plug these shortcomings, retrofitted electric vehicles come into reality with better performance. Similarly, Northway Motors unveiled an aftermarket electric conversion kit with a 39 kWh battery capacity which is relatively more than the 21.3 kWh battery of Tata Ace EV. Coupled with this battery pack, the EV kit’s high torque AC induction electric motor functions with the existing gearbox and negates the need for clutch and gearshift operations. 

Moreover, the Tata Ace EV is designed to deliver a certified range of 154 km which is far less than the 350 km range of retrofitted Tata Ace long-range EV kit. The aftermarket electric conversion kit is compatible with both the new Tata Ace and older models. Since it is mounted low in the chassis for even weight distribution, it provides enhanced drivability.

In addition to the Drive mode, Northway has included a Load mode, allowing the retrofitted kit to provide the best load-bearing capability even in inclines and steep gradients. Northway Motors promises a safe and legal product for Tata Ace owners to ensure minimal running costs in the business and an improved rate of returns. 

Is Aftermarket Electric Conversion Allowed in India? 

Now, the question arises: Is the process of converting the ICE-powered vehicle into an electric version legal or not in India? The answer is yes, as a conventional commercial vehicle can be converted into an electric vehicle but with some conditions, like the retrofitted vehicle must be registered with the concerned RTO (Regional Transport Office) as an electric vehicle and the aftermarket EV kit manufacturer must be ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) certified. 

How Much Extra Will EV Kit Cost For Tata Ace Conversion?

It is well known that EV batteries account significantly for vehicle costs as batteries are one of the most expensive components in an electric powertrain. Also, there is always a concern about its fire safety, which increases the cost of quality battery packs. The same conversion kit can not be used for all commercial vehicles. 

Hence, the kit is calibrated specifically for the particular model to meet the vehicle’s weight and desired accelerations. It is labour-intensive work which makes the retrofitted electric vehicle operational with efficiency. As for the price mentioned by Northway Motors, an aftermarket EV kit will set you back by Rs 9.35 lakh in case the buyer provides Tata Ace Petrol. 

Northway Motors offers a new Tata Ace retro-fitted model at Rs 14.5 lakh without a charger and any type of load body. The price of the EV kit for Tata Ace is comparatively more than the new Tata Ace EV which has an ex-showroom price starting from Rs 8.72 lakh. 

Available at a high price, the retrofitted electric haulage truck can be daunting to most customers as the price points are the same as purchasing a used electric vehicle in good condition.

Conclusion: Tata Ace Retrofitted EV Versus Tata Ace EV 

To sum up, retrofitting ICE vehicles like the Tata Ace Gold with an aftermarket electric propulsion kit offers zero carbon footprints and no tailpipe emission. It benefits fleet owners as the converted electric vehicles can be designed to meet specific business applications with optimum performance and long range. However, its high price point makes it a less attractive alternative to the Tata Ace EV for most customers. 

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