Tata’s first dedicated electric vehicle, the New Sierra, will be built on the new Sigma pure-EV platform with no IC engine options.
Tata Motors is rushing ahead with a comprehensive electric model onslaught, fueled by the Nexon EV’s success, which has made it India’s EV market leader. Tata Motors has announced that it will have a 10-EV portfolio in the next five years after establishing a new EV subsidiary TPEML and investing Rs 15,000 crore in product development.
The all-new Tata Sierra, arguably the most important of these and the most talked about since its debut in concept form at Auto Expo 2020, will be the most significant of these. It has now been given the green light for production, according to sources, and it will be Tata’s first stand-alone EV-only model, as well as the first on a new ‘Born Electric’ platform. Here are a few key points to remember about it.
There will be no gasoline or diesel available. Sierra
The Sierra was Tata Motors’ first true SUV, as some of our older readers may recall (or TELCO, as it was known back then). It had a distinctive three-door design and a signature styling feature in the form of long (non-openable) rear windows that curved upwards into the roof. It was built on a pick-up truck platform and came with a 2.0-litre diesel engine (first naturally aspirated, then turbocharged) and 4WD.
However, aside from some design cues that may pay homage to the original, the new Sierra will have very little in common with the original. For starters, no diesel engines will be used – in fact, no combustion engines will be used at all. The new Sierra will be a born-electric vehicle, which means it will be designed from the ground up as an EV, with no option for a conventional petrol or diesel engine, thanks to its new Sigma platform, which can’t support an ICE powertrain. In a moment, I’ll expand on this.
According to sources, the production Sierra EV will have a conventional five-door layout, rather than the three-door layout of the original or the unique ‘four-door’ layout (one door on the driver side, two doors on the passenger side) of the 2020 concept.
What is the Sigma platform, and how does it work?
The Sierra will be built on a dedicated EV platform, unlike Tata’s current EVs, the Nexon and Tigor, which are based on the same platforms as their petrol and diesel-powered counterparts, albeit modified to accommodate batteries and motors instead. The new Sigma platform has been heavily re-engineered around the battery pack to avoid any compromises and to optimise packaging. It is based on the X4 or ALFA platform of the Altroz and Punch.
The transmission tunnel will be removed, as will modifications to the area that would have been the fuel tank, and the side members will be pushed to the sides to free up space. These modifications will likely make the Sigma platform lighter, more energy efficient, and more spacious than ICE-based EVs. As a result of these changes, the platform will no longer be able to support combustion engines and their ancillary components, but Tata’s ALFA and OMEGA platforms can handle that.
The new Tata Sierra will not be available until 2025
While the Sierra’s development is well underway, the all-electric SUV is still a ways off from hitting the market, which is unlikely to happen before 2025. As previously stated, at least six models are in the works, but those that arrive before the Sierra will be based on existing ICE platforms or upgraded versions of existing models. On the Sigma platform, you can expect more models beyond the Sierra, as well as larger models to complement the Harrier and Safari. Pick up the January 2022 issue of Autocar India magazine for more information.