New Tata Safari a serious candidate for an electric vehicle [Update]

A first-ever Tata Safari electric or hybrid-electric could be in the pipeline, Shailesh Chandra, President, Tata Motors (PVBU) hinted last month. The question to be answered is when, not if, the electric SUV would be launched. today presents an interesting rendition of the Tata Safari EV. Styling inferences made from the Nexon EV are incorporated to the exterior of the Safari along with the charging port hatch on the grille.

In an interview with Autocar Professional on YouTube, Chandra said that the all-new Safari, being based on the OMEGA architecture, “has the capability of doing electrification.” The timing has to be right for electrification, and certain criteria have to be met, Chandra added.

Safari, to you know HBX, what we may launch later on, all these will be candidates for electric.

Shailesh Chandra, President, Tata Motors (PVBU) to Autocar Professional

The OMEGA architecture is a cost-down version of Jaguar Land Rover’s D8 platform. While Land Rover phases it out and upgrades to the more advanced MLA platform to expand its lineup to 6 electric vehicles in the next 5 years, Tata Motors is embracing it to roll out premium, feature-rich and quality SUVs like the Harrier and the Safari 2021, which could’ve been previously impossible. The D8 platform enables the Indian automaker to generate bigger models and offer them in hybrid flavours.

Jaguar Land Rover MLA D8 D7a D7u platforms
Thanks to the D8 platform, both Tata Harrier Hybrid EV and Tata Safari Hybrid EV are possible. Image: Jaguar Land Rover.

The D8 platform is ready for mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid technologies. In fact, JLR is already selling all three D8-derived models, namely Land Rover Discovery Sport, Range Rover Evoque and Jaguar E-Pace, in mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants.

PHEVs can prove very expensive due to the high voltage battery packs, onboard charger, and electrical/electronic components. We reckon Tata Motors is mooting a mild/strong hybrid Safari for when the time comes, and that a mild/strong hybrid Harrier would be a natural follow-up, and a perfect match to petrol variants. The upcoming CAFE II norms and RDE regulations in 2022 or 2023 may lead to Tata Motors releasing such hybrid models during the product mid-cycle action. The company has confirmed the launch of neither of these speculated hybrid EVs yet, but that is the direction it is heading towards.