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eMO breaks new ground for Tata Technologies

28 Nov 2012

More than 770,000 auto enthusiasts, including thousands of auto industry professionals and the world's automotive press, attended the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit this January – and most got a chance to check out an all-new electric vehicle study from a new player on the scene.

Tata Technologies unveiled its eMO, and showgoers could hardly miss it. Positioned in the lobby of Detroit's Cobo Center at the Michelin Challenge Design “City 2046” display highlighting the future of personal transportation, the eMO – which stands for electric Mobility – drew considerable attention.  A futuristic design and breakthrough features were eye openers.

Comfortable, practical, fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly, eMO is the right size for urban transport - easy to park, yet seating four adults comfortably, with a back seat able to be converted into substantial cargo space.
It's innovative. While working on the study, Tata Technologies developed fresh intellectual property and has 15 patents in process.

And it's designed to be affordable; its estimated manufacturer's suggested retail price is $20,000 (US), and that's without any federal or state government incentives.

But for industry analysts, the big news was the emergence of Tata Technologies as an unexpected entrant in the full-vehicle development arena.

Redifining Our Company

In India, this is officially the Decade of Innovation, as declared by the country's president. In 2010, at a summit meeting of the country's leading engineering companies, a bold prediction was made: Within 10 years, an Indian engineering firm would develop the capability to deliver a complete vehicle.

Enter Tata Technologies. Since 1981, Tata Technologies professionals have been contributing engineering, design and IT services to the world’s leading automotive and aerospace manufacturers and their suppliers. Headquartered in Singapore, with regional offices in the United States (Novi, Michigan), India (Pune) and the United Kingdom (Coventry), Tata Technologies has a work force of more than 5,443 employees serving clients worldwide.

In its three decades of providing pragmatic solutions for a growing number of successful automakers and aerospace companies, Tata Technologies had developed a growing reputation for competence and innovation, and for an unmatched mastery of frugal engineering. In 2010, the company was ready to take its next step – the formation of a Vehicle Programs & Development (VPD) group.

VPD was created as a strategic realignment of Tata Technologies' engineering leadership and its team of professionals worldwide. It was a change designed to adapt to a changing world. As the automotive industry was emerging from a global recession, the demand for new, highly differentiated products was increasing, placing an unprecedented burden on the automakers' limited product and manufacturing engineering resources. The automakers now were seeking experienced, proven engineering partners to meet these demands. They also needed partners with an eye toward innovation - a fresh view - to achieve success.

The experience and global reach of Tata Technologies placed the company in a unique position to rise to the challenge. Creating the new Vehicle Programs & Development team was a first step. The next step: showcasing the capabilities of the newly organized team.

The Birth of the eMO

In the summer of 2010, in anticipation of launching the Vehicle Programs & Development group, Tata Technologies decided to create a complete vehicle as an internal engineering study. As a company with a history of dedicating its resources to specific client needs, this was a shift in gears.

The group considered numerous concepts. The objectives were to highlight the company's focus on sustainability, as well as its global experience, knowledge, capacity, innovation and frugal engineering capabilities across its portfolio of services, which cover the entire product development cycle, including:

  • Product and Market Definition
  • Concepts and Styling
  • Vehicle Architecture
  • Knowledge-Based Modeling
  • Engineering and Design
  • Digital Validation
  • Prototype and Testing
  • Manufacturing Solutions

The team started by reviewing relevant media on electric vehicles. "We found very mixed results, ranging from huge optimism to abject pessimism and everything in between," says Kevin Fisher, President of the Vehicle Programs & Development group. There was much to study, including a plethora of concepts and reams of data, as well as local and governmental incentives and infrastructure.

"We studied and considered what type of electric vehicle is required for different uses, each having a specific purpose and goal," says Fisher. "We dissected demographics, identifying who would be interested in each segment, determining what innovation and technologies we could bring to this market, with an overall objective of producing a concept that would be a cost effective electric vehicle."

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