Tata - Concepts and Other Green Car Initiatives

Written By: EightySix

India's Tata Group Emerging as a Major Green Auto Force

Not many in Europe or North America are familiar with the Tata Group, although they should be. Tata is a global enterprise headquartered in India that operates more than one hundred companies. The group, which had revenues of over $100 billion in 2013, does business in everything from steel to perfume. It owns Land Rover and Jaguar. Its Tata Motors division is the largest auto maker in India and is moving into the rest of the world.

The company is committed to sustainability and environmental responsibility. It is working to rebuild whale shark populations in the Arabian Sea, preserve coastal ecosystems by raising mangroves and finding sustainable sources for its beverage products. It also is working hard to build an affordable green car the world wants to drive.

The eMO Electric

The eMO was developed by Tata Technologies, rather than Tata Motors, and was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in 2012. Tata Technologies is a consultant to other automakers. This is the first time they'd ever developed a car of their own. The concept carries an 18.4 kW lithium ion battery, powering a pair of front-mounted motors. The range is predicted to be 100 miles with a top speed of 65 miles per hour, although the prototype on display at Detroit never exceeded 30 miles per hour on the test track. The proposed price tag is $20,000.

This is absolutely an experiment unlikely to ever see production. Tata Technologies was participating in an "electric mobility study" as part of the Michelin Challenge Design Exhibit. The team spent an intense ten months on the project and is seeking fifteen patents on their innovations. The wedge-shaped four door with the glass roof has a surprising amount of passenger and luggage space. Let's hope Tata Motors can run with this idea and produce a $20,000 electric car.

The Megapixel Plug-In Hybrid

A vehicle more likely to be produced is the Megapixel. Release in India is expected to be late 2015. This is a funky and innovative mobile. Each wheel has its own 10 kW motor. It can go 54 miles in electric-only mode or up to 559 miles using the 325 cc single cylinder range extender engine. The four doors slide forward and back, rather than swinging open, for pillar-free easy entry in tight spaces. With all the power hardware pushed to the corners, the interior is quite spacious for a little car.

With independently-powered wheels, the Megapixel can do things other cars can't. The front wheels can turn at very sharp angles. One rear wheel can turn forward and the other backward to enable a 2.8 meter turning radius. It can pivot in or out of a parking place with almost no room at all.

Another tricky feature is its induction charging system. You don't need to plug it in. Just park over the induction pad to power up the battery. Its Human Machine Interface is designed to integrate your smart phone with the car.

While there is no distinct timeline for the Megapixel to hit the US or European market, its cousin the Nano is rumored for sale there in 2015. The Nano was released in India in 2009. Selling for $2500, it was the world's cheapest car. It was redesigned as the Pixel and later as the Megapixel. A version with the safety and luxury features Western consumers expect might sell for $8000.

Decade of Innovation

India declared 2010-2020 to be the Decade of Innovation. The nation aspires to become a major economic and technological power. Top quality education for its population of 1.2 billion is a national priority. The Tata Group, and possibly the Megapixel, will spread globally as part of this innovation.