Tata planning world’s cheapest hybrid vehicle

Article by Christian A., on January 7, 2009

There was a big stir when Tata Motors made the Nano public, designated as the plant's cheapest vehicle. Whether the Indian carmaker can also produce the world's cheapest hybrid vehicle is contingent on the definition of hybrid.

Tata is reportedly working on an extra ecological variant of the Nano microcar that will highlight, among others, start/stop capabilities and is referring to it as a micro hybrid.

Putting the play on words aside, the technology supplied by Bosch is anticipated to lower fuel consumption and enhance emissions by an estimated 5 to 10 percent, and all of these for just a couple extra hundred dollars.

Certainly, being such a cheap vehicle, even just few hundred dollars is already a big percentage of the $2,500 Nano price tag, and Tata is anxious that the latest micro hybrid drivetrain will increase the cost of the car.

It is also anticipated that Tata will open diesel and electric variants of the Nano, and there is still no information available to help determine the order in which these models will premiere since there are so many elements that can influence Tata's manufacturing timeline.

Soon after the successful launch of its low cost Tata Ace truck in 2005, Tata Motors commenced development of a new affordable car that would appeal to motorcycle-riding Indians. This new car would be offered at a relatively cheap price, as made possibly cutting the amount of steel in its construction, removing the passenger's side wing mirror and the fuel filler car, having only three lug nuts per wheel and having only one wiper blade. Nonetheless, the Nano is equipped with modern safety features such crumple zones, seat belts and an intrusion-resistant door.

When Tata Motors introduced the Nano in early 2008, the car received so much attention especially because it was price at only 1 lakh. The Tato Nano will be powered by an all-aluminum 623-cc engine with only two cylinders. This engine is capable of delivering up to 33 hp (25 kW) of motive power, thereby allowing the Nano to achieve a opt speed of 60 mph (96 km/h).

Established in 1945 as a manufacturer of locomotives, Tata Motors Limited is an Indian carmaker with a base in Mumbai. A subsidiary of the Tata Group conglomerate, Tata Motors entered the commercial vehicle sector in 1954 after forming a joint venture with Daimler-Benz. The joint venture ended in 1969. In 1988, Tata Motors entered the passenger vehicle market with the TataMobile. Tata Motors currently owns Jaguar and Land Rover brands, after acquiring them from Ford in June 2008.

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