Tata Unveils $20,000 Battery Car

An “intimate understanding” of frugal engineering.

by on Jan.12, 2012

Tata used "frugal engineering" to hold the estimated price of the eMo battery car concept to $20,000.

Electric vehicles don’t have to cost an arm and a leg, insists Indian automaker Tata Motors.

Its research arm, Tata Technologies, has unveiled a prototype for a $20,000 electric car that can carry four passengers without adding to the pollution in crowded cities around the world.

“The eMo project symbolizes the coming of age of Indian automotive engineering,” said Warren Harris, Tata Technologies President and Global COO. “It is a tangible example of the capability of Tata Technologies to engineer a full vehicle – a first for any India-based engineering services company,” added Harris during a press conference at the North American International Auto Show.

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Harris added, “Because we are India-based, Tata Technologies is intimately familiar with developing markets. Additionally, our experience and presence in Europe and North America means we also have an understanding of developed markets. It’s a combination that provides a competitive advantage to our clients,” added Harris, who noted the company also does extensive work for clients such as Ford Motor Co and Chrysler Group in the U.S.

“This is our business card,” said the R&D firm’s Kevin Fisher, who said he hopes the prototype will bring new clients to the company, which is part of the Tata Group, who said the objective was to demonstrate it was possible to build an electric vehicle with an attractive price.

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

Fisher said Tata Technologies set a price target of $20,000 and then used a multidimensional approach to develop the eMo using the company’s “intimate understanding” of frugal engineering principles. The end result was a small, urban oriented four-seat vehicle with a unique electric drive and operating software. The entire vehicle weighs in at less than 2,000 pounds, even with a steel frame capable of meeting existing crash standards.

The eMO architecture emphasizes “right size” personal urban transportation by minimizing its exterior footprint and maximizing interior space, including seating for four adults, according to Tata Technologies.

“This next decade will see an ever-increasing demand for more efficient and accelerated product development that also will need to incorporate more new technology than the auto industry has seen in 30 years,” Fisher said.

The project eventually utilized the talents of more than 300 engineers at Tata’s Technologies’ four automotive engineering centers of excellence in Novi Pune, India, Detroit, Coventry, England , and Stuttgart, Germany.

For the moment, at least, there are no actual plans to put the eMo into production, though Tata is clearly looking to expand its global presence. The parent company is perhaps best known for the little Nano microcar which, at $2,600, is the world’s least expensive automobile. But the maker also owns the Jaguar and Land Rover brands it purchased from Ford Motor Co. several years ago.


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One Response to “Tata Unveils $20,000 Battery Car”

  1. rngonmt says:

    That thing is sporting Joan Rivers’ lips.



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