Don’t Call it a Nano: Tata to Show Electric Minicar at Detroit

No Jaguar, Land Rover, or Range Rover will officially grace the show floor at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit – but an odd electric concept car crafted by JLR’s Indian parent firm, Tata, apparently will. As part of its annual design display, Michelin will showcase the eMO concept, which was developed by Tata’s Technologies branch.
First and foremost, the eMO (which stands for electric mobility) is almost certainly not going to be produced. The car isn’t a concept for Tata Motors (the company that builds the famed Nano) as much as it is for Tata Technologies, which frequently serves as an engineering subcontractor to various manufacturers. Consider the car merely a means to exhibit the company’s design methodology and capabilities instead of a precursor to a real-life product.
Ideas and concepts aside, the car would be an interesting addition to the electric car market: it was designed to be both very light and inexpensive.  Like the Nano, there’s no fifth door; instead, the cargo hold is accessed by way of rear-hinged passenger doors, and folding the rear seats flat. Allegedly, this design delivers structural rigidity on par with similar microcars, but also weighs much less.
It’s also a fairly good-looking car, too. There are some futuristic design touches that are commonplace for electric cars (think vertical LED taillights and aerodynamic wheels), but it also boasts a full panoramic glass roof, and a waterfall center stack that looks like it was pulled from a Volvo concept car.
Not so futuristic is the targeted price: roughly $20,000. That’s a bit much for a car this small, but it would undercut most other electric vehicles currently sold in the U.S., including the Mitsubishi I MiEV and the Nissan Leaf.
Sources: Michelin, New York Times

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