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Tata presents $20,000 eMO compact EV concept


January 10, 2012

Tata Technologies has unveiled its eMO EV concept car, that is designed to sell for US$20,000

Tata Technologies has unveiled its eMO EV concept car, that is designed to sell for US$20,000

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You could be forgiven for thinking that an electric car called the eMO would be dark-colored, inspire sulkiness in its drivers, and play nothing but My Chemical Romance on its stereo. In this case, however, eMO stands for "Electric MObility study," which is just what India's Tata Technologies designed the concept car as - a study in practical, cost-effective electric city/urban transportation. The vehicle is currently on display at the North American International Auto Show as part of this year's Michelin Challenge Design exhibit, in which participants were asked to design "a personal, ground-based vehicle that can transport between two and 10 people, meeting the anticipated needs of select cities in 2046."

The eMO was designed in a collaboration between engineers from Tata's four international centers of excellence, located in Pune (India), Detroit, Coventry, and Stuttgart. They sought to minimize its exterior footprint while maximizing interior space, which resulted in a car that can seat four adults, or that can carry cargo with the back seats folded down.

Additional features include nine air bags, a full steel safety cage, a dashboard touchscreen interface, and easy-access rear suicide doors (combined with forward-opening front doors), like those on the Honda Element.

It also reportedly has more aerodynamic surfaces and shorter overhangs than conventional internal combustion-powered vehicles, its assembly process forgoes traditional painting methods for mold-in colored body panels, and it incorporates recycled building materials.

Power is provided by an air-cooled 18.4-kW lithium-ion battery, coupled to a liquid-cooled, dual-motor, front-wheel-drive system which is said to be good for at least 250,000 miles (402,336 km) of use. This combination gives it a range of 100 miles (161 km) per charge, and a top speed of 65 mph (105 km/h). Stopping is handled by front disc and rear drum antilock brakes with electronic stability control, while an electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion system takes care of steering.

Tata Technologies' sister company, Tata Motors, is best-known for producing what is currently promoted as being the world's most inexpensive car, the US$2,500 Tata Nano. While the eMO isn't designed to be quite that cheap, it has been created to sell for $20,000 - pretty good, for an EV. With a "fuel" economy of 150 MPG equivalent (1.57 L/100 km), Tata estimates that it should cost a typical owner about $405 a year in electricity ... if it's ever commercially produced.

"We developed it strictly as an engineering study with no particular automaker in mind," said Kevin Fisher, president of Tata's Vehicle Programs and Development group. "If there are auto companies interested in exploring the potential of the eMO, we would, of course, welcome that opportunity."

The video below provides some more information on the car.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Semi truck + EMO = ___


Very nice advancement in that style EV auto. Pillar-less access to rear seats is great! Wheels located at extremities of vehicle is best for room and stability. Dual front motors saves drive shafts, gives more room, and makes for individual wheel control easier. I sure hope they produce it that way.


Too much drama...

Clever marketing on the name, I must admit.

Fits the times in America for much of the masses.


Sooo. Which of the two will those of us in the US see in the showroom (if at all)? Not the $2,500 Nano, for sure. The Nano doesn\'t have all those \"made for sale in America\" features the Elmo does, as any car destined for Columbias shores must. Oops. Did I say Elmo instead of eMO? I did! Tata will be tickled pink, laughing all the way to the bank. Thanks for helping us economic-minded Yanks (the few of us who are left) to make up our minds.

Neil Larkins

When people talk about small car safety the first thing that so many people bring up are Semi-trucks. The funny thing, many people don\'t really care! Look at the millions of motorcycles/scooters that are on the road which are way more \"dangerous\". Consider also that even a Hummer H1 is no match for a Semi-truck! Better chances maybe, but no guarantee.


The $2500 Nano can\'t make it in India at current sales volume. And of course it can\'t be merchandised here at anywhere near that price point because of stric economics and because that would deflate the \"value\" percieved price point for the delux version.

In any case, the true price is what it has ifwhen it is in showrooms. all other are vaporstickers

Walt Stawicki

Forget seeing that in the US market. At $2,500 it can\'t possibly be built to withstand crash standards. Read that as, at highway speeds it might be as safe as a go cart dressed in a card board box. Does India even have crash standards?

Aerodynamically it a drag.


I would buy one of these at $20K in a flash! Far and away the best design for an EV seen so far. Performance numbers are fully acceptable...

Ned Baldwin

Please Tata, get the 'eMO compact EV' approved for use in Australia. Right hand drive, crash tested and under $25,000 on the road. You have a winner on style and specification.

The Stav

Edit: "(combined with forward-opening front doors)". Um, rear doors, I b'lieve.

Since it's a concept car available for any mfr. to take on, I'd expect a Chinese knock-off to appear in a month or two. ;) As a remoter future projection, within a half-dozen years or so batteries will be at least double that capacity, so you can hike both range and power.

[Nope, the front doors open forward and the rear doors open towards the rear, to provide unimpeded access to the interior - Ed.]

Brian Hall
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