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Tatas to display concept electric car Emo at Detroit Auto Show

By Motortrend India Staff   |   08 January,2012

Tata Technologies, the research and engineering arm of the Tata Group, will showcase an electric concept car at the much-watched Detroit Auto Show next week.

The company said it has no plans yet to commercially produce the electric mobility concept vehicle ‘Emo’, which was designed to "prove that the company could one day produce an affordable electric car for the American market that offered the same capabilities as the current crop of pricier electric vehicles," a report in the New York Times said.

Nigel Giddons, the chief engineer who led much of the development of the electric vehicle from Tata Technologies’ American headquarters in Michigan, termed the project "very fulfilling", adding, "We’ve done a lot of concept work like this, but it was always driven by customers." He further said, "We are very keen to reinforce that there is no intention to produce this car."

Tata had showcased USD 2500 Nano in January 2010 in Detroit, parading the car for the first time for American audiences. While the Emo resembles Nano in its small car size, Giddons said Emo has no mechanical relation to the Nano. "We certainly applied the word ‘minimalist’ in the way the Nano did," he said in the report.

Emo has no creature comforts, like leather seats or dual-zone climate controls. If Tata decides to produce it, Emo would sell for USD 20,000 before subsidies. After considering current federal subsidies of up to USD 7,500, an Emo would cost USD 12,500, drastically remapping the entry point for electric vehicle shoppers, the report said.

The car will be parked at the Michelin Design Challenge display during the Detroit auto show and was primarily made to "validate our own capabilities across the board".

Giddons’s team, which included engineers in Novi as well as in Tata Technologies’ offices in Britain and India, conceptualised the project and readied the final model in just eight months.

The Emo was designed as a "spartan wedge," with a glass top, seating for four and front doors measuring about twice as long as the rear ones. Other specifications include a 100-mile estimated range on a single charge and a top speed of 65 miles per hour.

It has a fixed hatch and its rear doors swing out from the back of the car, a set-up that creates large space for entering and exiting. Emo has been designed to pass all federal safety requirements in the US.

"To do anything less would have made it a little too easy for us," Giddons said.

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