UK finally grants its first £10-million auto loan

The UK government has finally made its first payment from its £2.3-billion aid package announced in January for the ailing car industry, which until now has only been on paper, (See: UK's £2.3-billion auto bailout only on paper: former government negotiator) and extended a £10-million loan to Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) for the manufacturing of electric car.

The loan, announced yesterday by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson was extended to TMETC, based at the University of Warwick, in Coventry, with Tata Motors itself investing £25 million for its electric car project in the UK.

The loan was granted to TMETC to develop and manufacture the Tata Indica Vista Electric Vehicle - the first four-seater electric car with a range of up to 200 km, which will be out in the European market, before being launched next year in India. (See: Indica electric vehicle to be launched in Europe this year  and Tata Motors to launch electric 'Indica EV' in Norway)

The left-hand drive 'Indica EV' was developed at the Tata Motors research facility at TMETC, in collaboration with top electric vehicle research and development firm Miljøbil Grenland of Norway.

In October 2008, TMETC had acquired a 50.3-per cent stake in Miljø (See: Tata Motors acquires majority stake in Norwegian electric car firm Miljø Grenland)

The same month, both companies tied up with Canadian power systems maker Electrovaya Inc, to manufacture batteries using its own proprietary lithium ion SuperPolymer battery technology. (See: Canadian battery maker in electric vehicle pact with Tata Motors, Miljø)