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Tata Motors shows CNG, diesel-electric hybrid and fuel cell concepts at Auto Expo 2012 in India, unveils 3 new production vehicles

Indigo Manza Hybrid. Click to enlarge.

Tata Motors showcased its alternate fuel technology capability at the New Delhi Auto Expo 2012 by displaying four concepts: the Tata Nano CNG; the Tata Indigo Manza diesel-electric hybrid; the Tata Starbus Fuel Cell (hydrogen); and the Tata Magic Iris CNG. The Tata Motors portfolio already includes a full electric vehicle—the Tata Indica Vista Electric Vehicle—and CNG-electric hybrid buses.

The company also unveiled three new production vehicles at the Auto Expo 2012: the Tata Safari Storme, the new generation Safari SUV; the Tata Ultra, the company’s new LCV & ICV range; and the Tata LPT 3723, India’s first 5-axle rigid truck as well. They will be commercially launched in the next financial year.

Tata Nano CNG Concept. CNG kit components have been applied to the bi-fuel CNG Tata Nano. The sequential gas injection system has been calibrated with the EMS system for smart switching between CNG and gasoline fuel systems. The car comes with software with safety strategies such as automatic cut-off CNG supply even in the case of leakages and automatic fuel quality checks. The CNG fuel system has been packaged in order to not disturb the existing luggage space.

The Tata Nano CNG comes with a touring range of more than 150 km (93 miles) in addition to the existing touring range (375 km, 233 miles) of the Nano 2012 and CO2 emissions of 92.7 g/km.

Tata Indigo Manza Hybrid Concept. Powered by a Hybrid 1.05 liter DiCOR engine and 45 kW electric traction motor, the Indigo Manza Hybrid functions as both a series and a parallel hybrid. The vehicle is designed to deliver performance with less than 90 g CO2/km in city traffic conditions through technologies such as high speed cranking, regenerative braking, auto start/stop, series hybrid mode and limited range pure electric operation. On the highway, the vehicle delivers best-in-class acceleration performance in the parallel hybrid mode.

Apart from regenerative braking, the Indigo Manza Hybrid Concept also recharges its Li-ion battery pack with a roof-mounted solar panel.

Tata Starbus Fuel Cell Concept. The 30-seat Tata Starbus Fuel Cell Concept was developed with support from the Government of India’s Department of Scientific and Industrial Research under the Technology Development & Demonstration Programme.

The bus features a fuel cell stack has gross peak power of 85 kW, Li-ion battery pack, and two rear motors motor with the peak power output of 186 kW with motor speed from 600 rpm to 2100 rpm and torque of 1,050 N·m (774 lb-ft) at 800 rpm. The maximum speed of the bus is 70 km/h and gradeability is 17%, which is suitable for city applications.

Magic IRIS CNG. Click to enlarge.

Tata Magic IRIS CNG. The Tata Magic IRIS CNG is a “last-mile” public transport vehicle. It comes equipped with a 611 cc, water-cooled 12.8 hp CNG engine with 37 N·m torque, mated with a 5-speed gear box.

It adheres to Tata Motor’s CNG safety standards such as Single Point Gas Injection, Swagelok Joint, Solenoid Valve on ITVR (integrated tank valve & regulator) and comes with stainless steel pipes instead of mild steel pipes, special air venting system arrangement to prevent rusting and gas leakages. The tamper proof ECU electronically limits maximum speed of vehicles as per local city requirements.

Features of the car-like Tata Magic IRIS CNG include all-steel, fully covered body with hard top, double steel sheet doors, 12” radial tires, ergonomically designed seats with seat belts, digital instrument panel, stylish dashboard mounted gear shift lever, steering wheel, big windshield, side mirrors and glass windows.

Production vehicles. The Safari Storme is powered by a 2.2L 16-valve common rail (DiCOR) engine (138 hp/103 kW power; 320 N·m/ 236 lb-ft torque) with a variable geometry turbo, mated with a 5-speed manual transmission. Electronic shift-on-the-fly (ESOF) enables shifting from 2WD to 4WD on the move.

For safety, there are 4-channel ABS with EBD, disc brakes on all wheels, a new rack-and-pinion steering system, rigid ladder frame construction with hydro-formed long members, crumple zones, side intrusion beams on all doors, collapsible steering column, dual SRS airbags, inertia switch and an auto engine immobiliser.

The Tata Ultra LCV & ICV range will comprise variants from 5 to 14 tonnes. The range will be powered by new generation 3L (138 hp/ 103 kW) and 5L (168 hp/ 125 kW) common rail (DiCOR) 16-valve engines, offering higher aggregate life, longer service intervals and low NVH.

The Tata LPT 3723 is India’s first 5-axle rigid truck. With a payload of 25 tonnes (ideal for cement and steel movement), it will reduce the cost/tonne-km. It is powered by a Cummins 6BT 5.9L engine (154 kW/ 207 hp at 2500 rpm) and mated with a 9-speed gearbox.

Tata Motors’ displays also include, in passenger vehicles, a Tata Nano concept, the Tata Pixel concept, the Tata Indica Vista Concept S2, the Tata Manza Nova concept, the Tata Aria – AT concept, the Tata Sumo Gold and the Tata Xenon concept. Other commercial vehicles displayed are the Tata Prima 7548.S - Concept, the Tata Prima 3138.K AT, the Tata Venture Ambulance, the Tata Ace Refresh and the Tata Super Ace (Left Hand Drive).

Tata Motors is India’s largest automobile company, with consolidated revenues of Rs.1,23,133 crores ($27 billion) in 2010-11. Through subsidiaries and associate companies, Tata Motors has operations in the UK, South Korea, Thailand, Spain and South Africa. Among them is Jaguar Land Rover. It also distributes Fiat cars in India, and has an industrial joint venture with Fiat in India.

With more than 6.5 million Tata vehicles plying in India, Tata Motors is the country’s market leader in commercial vehicles and among the top three in passenger vehicles. It is also the world’s fourth largest truck manufacturer and the third largest bus manufacturer. Tata cars, buses and trucks are being marketed in several countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia and South America.



Tata will probably produce a compressed air engine equipped Nano in 2013. This unit will have an autonomy of up to 300 Km per full compressed air charge. On-board Air tanks recharge will take 2 to 3 minutes at Air Stations and/or 3 hours at home with a small high pressure air compressor.

If produced, this could be another, much low cost ($8900). clean running alternative to FCs and EVs.

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