Tata Motors will bring out an electric car this September and commence marketing the low cost Nano, the world's cheapest car, in the US within the next two years.
Speaking at the closing session of the Cornell Global Forum on Sustainable Enterprise held in New York on Wednesday, Tata said that Tata Motors was seriously looking at biofuels, electrical power and clean diesel for vehicles.
He said that the company has been trying to conserve the use of hydrocarbons and remove emissions, and was even looking at compressed air-powered vehicles (See: India may see the Tata - MDI Air Car this year), adding that Tata Motors would have an electric car in the market in September.
He reiterated that the Nano would be introduced into the US market within the next two years after meeting with all the emission and crash standards of the US, repeating his earlier statement while launching the Nano in Mumbai in March this year. (See: Ratan Tata launches Tata Nano)
Before marketing the Nano in Europe by 2011, Tata Motors has made a strategic move with plans to build the Nano in Thailand, to use the country as a gateway for exports to the neighbouring ASEAN countries.
"Tata Motors, the best known Indian car maker, will expand the market to ASEAN countries for the export base to the world," the Thailand Board of Investment said in a statement.
Tata Air car
In 2007, Tata Motors had signed an agreement with Moteur Development International (MDI) of France to develop a car that runs on compressed air, thus making travel economical and totally pollution free. (See: Tata Motors, MDI of France sign technology pact)
The car, on the lines of the European MiniCAT, could cost around Rs350,000 in India and would have a range of around 300km. The cost of a refill would be about Rs90.
Unlike electric or hydrogen powered vehicles, MDI vehicles are not as expensive and are not hamstrung by as limited a driving range between recharges. These cars are affordable and have a performance rate that stands up to current standards.
Tata Motors had said last September that it plans to introduce the electric version of its Indica hatchback, the 'Indica ev' in Norway in 2009 and a year later in India. (See: Tata Motors to launch electric 'Indica EV' in Norway)
The car is said to be able to run for 175km to 200km when fully charged with a "two-pack" battery, though mileage could vary according to the type of battery used.
The company had also announced plans to produce an electric-drive version of the Nano called The E-Nano.
For its electric vehicles, Tata Motors had acquired 50.3 per cent of Norwegian electric vehicle firm Miljø Grenland/Innovasjon in October 2008. 'Miljø will produce electric vehicles based on Tata Motors' products, besides manufacturing state-of-the-art super polymer lithium ion batteries and the development of related technologies. (See: Tata Motors acquires majority stake in Norwegian electric car firm Miljø Grenland)
In the same month, Canadian power systems maker Electrovaya Inc, based in Mississauga, Ontario, entered into an alliance with Tata Motors and Miljø to manufacture batteries and electric cars in Norway, beginning 2009, using its own proprietary lithium ion SuperPolymer battery technology.