Mumbai: Tata Motors Ltd is planning to launch an electric car and a slew of other fuel-efficient vehicles, chairman Ratan Tata told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting.
Tata Motors, India's largest automobile company, is set to roll out the world's cheapest car. The company is also planning to expand its presence in the defence equipment business, Tata said.
Tata Motors is due to launch the world's cheapest car - the `Nano' - in September this year.
A leader in commercial vehicles, Tata Motors is also the second largest passenger vehicle manufacturer in the country.
Weighed down by rising oil prices and amidst rising concerns of environment pollution, vehicle makers the world over are shifting to fuel-efficient and greener electric models to beat the slump.
Two of America's largest car manufacturers – General Motors and Ford Motor Co – are shifting production to smaller cars and models that work with electricity.
GM, whose first electric car, the Chevy Volt, is due to roll off the production line in 2010, is working with more than 30 power companies across the US to study the implications of a mass fleet of electric cars on the roads.
Ford is also shifting focus from pick-up trucks and SUVs to smaller cars to win a larger share of an overall declining market.
GM's Chevy Volt, which is due to be unveiled in late 2010, will run on an electric motor powered by lithium-ion batteries, which can travel 40 miles when fully charged.
The auto companies have formed a larger alliance with local power grids to handle the increased power demand.
GM has formed an alliance with electric companies in 40 states to support its roll-out of the Chevrolet Volt and Saturn Vue while a joint venture between Nissan Motor Co and Renault SA is planning a network of battery-charging stations.
Nissan, along with partners NEC Corporation and NEC Tokin Corporation, will invest $115 million over the next three years to produce lithium-ion batteries through an existing joint venture.
Honda Motor Co Ltd and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation are all working on their own lithium-ion batteries in separate JVs.