Tata Motors launches first 'home-made' engine in 15 years

Tata Motors on Monday unveiled its new petrol engine, the first to be developed in-house for 15 years; and said this was only the first of a range of engines on the design board.

It added these engines  will power some of its future cars, as the company looks to cater to the shifting preference of the consumer for petrol engines as diesel prices continue to go up.

Tata Motors show-cased the turbocharged intercooled multi-point fuel injected (MPFi) petrol engine, the Revotron 1.2T, the first `Revotron' series, the next-generation petrol engine family that will power its future models in the passenger vehicle market.

However, it declined to specify in which models the new 1.2-litre turbo-charged engine will be used, but commentators believe it is likely to power a new hatchback and a compact sedan which the country's fourth-largest passenger vehicle maker has prepared for launch next month.

Tata Motors officials said this is part of the Mumbai-based company's aim of freeing itself from foreign collaboration in the area of engine and powertrain supplies, for which it currently relies largely its joint venture with Italian carmaker Fiat. At present, the company sources a 1.3-litre diesel engine and two petrol engines from Fiat.

It said the `Revotron' series has been designed on the basis of extensive feedback from car owners, car enthusiasts and expertbdrivers from across the globe and after observing their driving habits and extensive testing in gruelling climatic conditions in India as well as in countries like the UK and Korea.

Tata Motors said the new series engines are being developed based on inputs received from renowned global players in the area of combustion, boosting, friction and calibration, to deliver class-leading performance.

Girish Wagh, vice president for passenger vehicles, product planning and programme management, said, ''We have developed this engine in three years as against the norm of four to five years. With the existing and new range [of vehicles], we expect to shift to new technology as far as engines are concerned.''

Tata, like other car makers in India, has been focussing on diesel cars, which have been in growing demand in a country where there is a huge artificial disparity between the prices of petrol and diesel. Tata Motors seems to be banking on the fact that the price difference between the two fuels is slowly but steadily narrowing, and petrol driven cars may see a resurgence.

On the anvil is an engine with less than 1,000-cc capacity, as well as others that are more powerful than the one launched on Monday.

At later stages is a sub-one litre engine and more powerful ones than Monday's launch. Company executives say it wants to offer power in smaller engines like 1.2-litre at par with those seen on bigger engines like the 1.6-litre.
 
The company will market this new range in petrol engines under the Revotron brand. These have been developed in cooperation with AVL of Austria, Bosch-Mahle and Honeywel.

The engine has been tested for global standards along with a testing car by TEnergy of Korea to ensure that the engine performance is best-in-class, it said.

''The engine has been manufactured to be light on weight and low on friction, delivering high performance and fuel economy. The Revotron series will include 3-and 4-cylinder petrol engines to offer superior performance as well as high fuel efficiency to our customers,'' Tata motors said in a press release.

Engineers at the company's UK-based premium subsidiary, Jaguar Land Rover, have also worked with Tata engineers based in Pune. The Revotron series will include three-cylinder and four-cylinder engines, with different power. 

The company's product launch cycle has been moving at a very slow pace for some years. However, it has increased the pace of development since the last one year and is now ready for new launches some of which will be showcased at the Auto Expo.

Announcing the launch, Ranjit Yadav, president, passenger vehicle business unit, said, "With the launch of Revotron 1.2T, Tata Motors passenger vehicles business is making a strategic shift towards a more complete portfolio. The name itself, an amalgamation of revolution and the French word "tronel", meaning "balance", conveys the essence of this engine brand that uses key technological advances to revolutionise and balance great driving manoeuvrability, without compromising on power or fuel efficiency. We are enhancing our portfolio with the next generation petrol engines - Revotron series".

The Revotron 1.2T has been engineered to deliver optimum balance of power, performance and fuel economy. It incorporates a range of eco-friendly and future-oriented technologies as well as the latest know-how like multi-drive modes while allowing the best of economy and driving pleasure.

The advance engine management systems (AMS) provides a digitally precise control for vehicle performance and emissions and offers the design of reciprocating components to ensure the best out of every drop of fuel.

For ensuring enhanced customer benefits in performance, refinement and economy, the Revotron 1.2T engine is equipped with a HighBoost turbo-charger delivering 85PS at 5000 RPM and 140 Nm at 1750-3500 RPM.

''The modern water-cooled turbo-charger, with its low inertia wheel, provides a faster response for a flat, seamless segment-highest torque density, which is kicked in at the lowest RPM and delivered over a wide range of revolutions, feeding the vehicle with raw power continuously. It's multi-drive mode, coupled with a superior throttle response, advanced catalytic converter with reduced toxic emissions and Smart ECU (Electronic Control Unit) with various innovative strategies, ensure a superlative performance on Indian roads,'' Tata Motors said in a release.

The engine is light-weight and powerful, with a stiffened crankcase that minimises noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) for a refined output. It is refined with tuned intake and exhaust system for improved combustion noise that is further reduced with silent-steel oil pan and lower auxiliary system noise. Enhanced with smart ECU for precise control, the engine is powered by wire technology for a smooth and responsive drive experience.

The engine also comes with a selectable multi-drive mode and uses low-viscosity, fuel efficient engine oil. An optimised water-jacket and head gasket, using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) technology ensures efficient combustion and reduces thermal inertia. In addition, the engine has been incorporated with an 8-hole fuel injector for superior efficiency and assisted by innovative calibration strategies.

Tata Motors, which has seen sales plunge this year amid a wider slowdown in the auto market, generates the bulk of its passenger vehicle sales through diesel-powered vehicles.

The new 1.2 litre turbocharged engine will be used in the company's compact vehicles, some of which are expected to be launched later this year