Published on January 13th, 2012 | by Charis Michelsen
Tata Technologies Has a Small, Affordable EV
An EV for $20,000? That seems like it would address the most pressing issue most prospective car buyers have with electric cars (namely, that they’re expensive). Automaker Tata showed up in Detroit last week with just such a prototype, titled the “Emo” (for Electric MObility).
Tata Technologies developed the Emo within just a few months, cheaply enough that the “estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $20,000 (US)” (according to Tata Technology). Combined with tax credits or incentives, the Emo could end up being actually affordable for the average consumer without a lot of cash to spare.
Rear Door? What Rear Door?
The Emo is super space-efficient – it claims room for four (adults), and indeed it does look like it would fit four adults, as long as no one is too tall or too wide. For what it’s worth, it’s actually bigger on the inside than the kei car I used to own, which did comfortably fit three small-ish Japanese women plus me – the Tata might be fairly comfortable around town.
There’s no B column between the front and rear doors, which open in opposite directions (and the rear door can’t be opened from the outside), which also serves to save space. How that will affect the passengers in an accident remains to be determined; while Tata claims the Emo passed an electronic simulation of a crash test, an actual test has yet to be carried out. The other odd thing about accessing the car is that there’s no rear opening whatsoever – any luggage going into the car has to go over the back seat (or in it!).
Tata hasn’t published many numbers about the car, but it should be able to hit 60mph and have a range of 100 miles. The Emo isn’t perfect, but it is trying to embody the qualifications American drivers seem to want in electric cars. It doesn’t hurt that it’s pretty cute, too.
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