Tata eMO

Aystery still shrouds the presence of Tata Motors in the US auto market. The Tata eMO concept car received a lot of attention and praise a year ago at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show as an "electric mobility study." Oh, and because it sported a $20,000 price tag and roomy interior. On the gasoline side of the ledger, the redesigned Tata Nano may or may not be available in the US within three years for under $10,000. But where does the eMO stand?

Tata Technologies' Kevin Fisher answered a few questions about this, clarifying (again) that Tata Technologies doesn't build cars – it advises clients on how to make cars, 80 percent of them being in the auto industry. Fisher previously called the eMO a "giant business card" and says Tata Technologies is still attempting to move the eMO forward. To do that, Tata Technologies will need the go-ahead from Tata Motors. Tata Motors builds cars for the Indian market, including the Nano and Indica (the company owns both Jaguar and Land Rover). For now, the eMO is still in the hands of Tata Technologies and Tata Motors hasn't committed to investing in or building the car yet. Even more perplexing is that Tata Technologies hasn't asked Tata Motors for support lately. "Tata Motors has their own product portfolio," Fisher told Forbes. "We don't have access to that and we work with them at arm's length."

For now, Tata Technologies is seeking 15 patents on the eMO and spending "a considerable amount" to build and refine it, according to Fisher, who added that it's been a real challenge for the engineering team – building a nimble, affordable electric car for the North American market. One important item on the to do list is more speed testing. When the prototype was unveiled, it was claimed it would reach 65 miles per hour. The problem? It's never exceeded 30 mph on a test track.

Last year, we noted that Tata Motors has been working with France-based Dassualt Systems to develop more technology for the eMO. Both companies were analyzing how to keep the cost and weight of the vehicle as low as possible to stay in the $20,000 price range, but a detailed plan never materialized. In other words, Tata-branded cars – electric or gas-powered – are still not scheduled for arrival in the US market. Will that ever change?
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