Tata design development ‘in evolution’, Curvv Concept EV a solid case in point
The days of the Tata Indica, Manza or even the Aria and the Hexa are relegated to the by-lanes of automotive history. The new-age products from Tata Motors are increasingly finding customer's favour with design playing a crucial role. Take the Altroz premium hatchback or the Safari three-row SUV, each model has its own unique identity which is first and foremost defined by the styling on the outside. It may take just one look to create curiosity and generate buzz, two factors amply at play recently when Tata Motors unveiled its Concept Curvv electric car.
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An electric car, especially those in the mass-market segment, doesn't necessarily have to be based on - or even identical to - existing models with internal combustion engine (ICE). And even in a fresh design take, it need not be a boring exercise in lackluster automotive design. You are driving clean but why not drive hot?
While it is true that Nexon EV and Tigor EV are near identical twins of their ICE counterparts, Tata Concept Curvv is anything but. An electric-first model that is likely to have a production version out in around two years from now, the Curvv appears to have given as much priority to its design as to its electric credentials, if not more. And while it may have taken some inspiration from existing Tata models, it is apparent only to the most discerning of eyes. “Our design development is in evolution. You already see a lineage, a hint of other products in this (Curvv). There are number of design features like the front fender is reminiscence of the Punch, the overall applications are reminiscent of other previous models and so forth." Martin Uhlarik, Global Head of Design at Tata Motors, tells HT Auto. “We really believe we have a successful design DNA."
There is, however, a very fine balancing act that automotive designers of today have to play. How to have the styling of a new product create waves of new excitement while still underlining the core design values of the brand? “It is also important that when you see this car in the showroom, in the next sort of two years that it looks consistent with the rest of the portfolio," Uhlarik admits. “It is the newest model, so it will be it will be the most progressive one sort of futuristic one as it is the youngest one, but it has a consistency there. You will also see some echo of the concepts we have done in the past."
Dominant grille, high ground clearance, sweeping curves, rounded fenders - the Concept Curvv does tend to benefit from a robust presence. But its coupe-ish roofline instantly stands out as well. And as far as coupe-ish design elements go, these are a bit of a hit and miss in the context of Indian sensibilities. “We know that this is a relatively new idea into the Indian market and we feel the time is right to introduce this," says Uhlarik. “We know from global markets that the coupe typology started in Europe and in North America probably 10 years ago. And now we have seen it expand it to other markets."
But as far as concept cars go, these tend to woo and wow more often than not even if the final production version may not exactly level up as well. And Uhlarik is well aware of this. “We have had a pretty good track record on delivering on the promise whenever we have shown a concept and for each one, we are progressively getting better and better. On the Curvv, customers won't be disappointed when they see it (in production form)."
Tata Motors will first launch the electric version of the Curvv before driving out the ICE versions. The company, however, has confirmed that there won't be a hybrid on offer.