Tata Motors, which plans to launch an electric model called the Indica EV in Europe next year, has bought a majority stake in a Norwegian specialist company. The Indica EV is a four-seater with a range of around 200 km (124 mi) and is powered by lithium-ion batteries.
The development signals the growing potential importance of electric vehicle solutions in widening markets and for the direct application of Indian automotive technology in Europe.
The stake in the Norwegian company, Miljø Grenland/Innovasjon, has been taken by Tata Motors’ UK subsidiary, Tata Motors European Technical Center plc, to give a 50.3% holding, at an acquisition cost of Kroner 12 million. Miljø describes itself as a specialist in the development of innovative solutions for electric vehicles. The balance of shares will be retained by the existing shareholders; they will continue to be associated with the venture.
The company will produce electric vehicles based on Tata Motors’ products, together with the manufacture of state-of-the-art super polymer lithium-ion batteries and the development of related technologies.
In a statement, Tata Motors said that it believed the new investment would help the company realize its strategy to develop convenient, affordable, and sustainable mobility solutions through electric and hybrid vehicles. Unlike existing electric vehicles, the Indica EV will be a more practical option for the consumer, says the company, being capable of carrying four people with adequate luggage space and having a predicted range of up to 200 km and acceleration of 0-60 mi/h (0-97 km/h) in under 10 s.
The Indica EV, seen at the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) annual convention in September, uses super polymer lithium ion batteries to provide "superior energy density compared to the current best-in-class electric vehicles," stated Tata.
No figures have been issued for likely production rates of the Indica EV for Europe.
Tata Motors, India's largest automobile company, now owns Jaguar Land Rover and has a strategic alliance with Fiat. With over 4 million Tata vehicles on the roads in India, Tata Motors is the country’s market leader in commercial vehicles and in the top three for passenger vehicles. It is the world's fourth largest truck manufacturer and the second largest bus manufacturer.