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Tata goes electric at Detroit

2012-01-12 07:22

CERTAINLY DIFFERENT: Tata Technlogies' eMo battery car is a long way from the company's ultra-cheap Nano. Image: AFP

DETROIT, Michigan - India's Tata Technologies has unveiled a prototype four-seater, $20 000 (about R170 000) battery car at at the Detroit auto show.

Warren Harris, president of Tata Technologies., said: "The eMO project symbolises the coming-of-age of Indian automotive engineering - a tangible example of the capability to engineer a full vehicle - a first for any India-based engineering services company."

Tata Technologies does extensive consulting work for clients such as Ford and Chrysler, offering the "competitive advantage of its experience in developing and mature automotive markets".

TARGET WAS PRICE

Kevin Fisher, who heads the group's vehicle development team, added: "The prototype is Tata's business card."

The objective was to demonstrate that it was possible to build an electric vehicle for an attractive price, though not with the intention of producing an electrified version of the Tata Nano. Fisher said:

"We researched numerous concepts for an internal engineering study that would highlight both Tata Technologies dedication to environmental responsibility and sustainability and showcase our global experience, knowledge, capacity and innovation."

FOUR SEATS, $20 000: Tata first set the price, then built the car to match. We hope it goes as good as it looks.

Fisher said Tata Technologies set a price target of $20 000 then used a multi-dimensional approach to develop the vehicle using the company's "intimate understanding" of frugal engineering.
The result was a small four-seater with "a unique" electric drive and operating software that weighs only 900kg yet meets current crash protection standards.

300 ENGINEERS

He added: "This next decade will see ever-increasing demand for more efficient and accelerated product development that will need more new technology than the auto industry has seen in 30 years."

The project eventually used the talents of more than 300 engineers in India, the US, Britain and Germany.
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