Tata Motors plans to introduce the electric version of its Indica hatchback, the 'Indica ev' in Norway in 2009 and a year later in India.
The car can run for 175 km to 200 km when fully charged with a "two-pack" battery, though mileage could vary according to the type of battery used.
The company has unveiled the prototype of the vehicle along with the electric version of its successful sub-1 ton light commercial vehicle, 'Ace', at the SIAM exhibition in New Delhi.
The left-hand drive 'Indica EV' was developed at the Tata Motors research facility in the UK, in collaboration with the top electric vehicle research and development firm in Norway, believed to be Miljoebil Grenland, partly owned by regional utility company Skagerak Energi and the $25-billion energy and integrated aluminium company, Norsk Hydro, with whom the Tatas were reported to have been mulling a new facility to develop light-body chasis in India a few years back.
In August, the Hamburg-based Auto Bild newspaper had reported that Tata Motors was planning an electric-drive version of the Nano called The E-Nano,to be built in cooperation with the Norwegian electric car specialist firm Miljoebil Grenland. (See: Tata plans E-Nano, electric version of Rs1-lakh car)
Miljobil Grenland is the front runner in the European electric car market with ongoing research and development in new zero emission technologies.
Unveiling the prototype battery-powered electric Indica model Ravi Kant, managing director, Tata Motors, told reporters at a press conference that the company was looking at electric vehicles as one of the technologies as such cars are "almost zero emission".
''Right now we want to test it out in Norway with the Norwegian party, because a lot of infrastructure is required for electric vehicles and ... in Norway, they are making arrangements for electric cars" Kant said.
Tata Motor's is also on the look out for alternate compressed-air OneCAT technology for the Indian market.
S Ravishankar, senior general manager, Tata Motors' engineering research centre, said that the protype model used imported lithium batteries and could cover 175km to 200km on a fully charged ''two-pack'' battery, but the mileage could vary according to battery usage.
The production of the car has not yet started and Indian buyers would have to wait another two years for the launch of this car as the country does not possess the necessary infrastructure at the moment.
Norwegian company Miljobil Grenland specialises in electric cars.
Bangalore-based Reva Electric Car Company has been manufacturing a 2-door, 4-seater electric cars for seven years. These cars can cover upto 80km on a single charge.
So far, Reva has sold about three-thousand electric cars, with half of those having been exported to Europe. The base price of the Reva is Rs 3.5 lakh in Bangalore and Rs 2.9 lakh onwards in New Delhi. In the European market, the car is priced at 12,000 to 13,000 euros.
Mahindra & Mahindra is also working on a four-seater electric car that will be bigger than the Reva and plans to bring it on Indian roads by 2010. Currently, M&M has an electric three-wheeler called Bijlee, and is working on an electric version on its three-wheeler Alfa.
Globally, Nissan, Mitsubishi, General Motors, Fuji Heavy Industries and Toyota are also in the race for developing electric cars.
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