Mike Stevens | Jan 6, 2012

This is the Tata eMO, an emotionally-troubled teenage... wait, that's not it at all. This is the Tata eMO, short for electric MObility (there we go), and it will be the centrepiece of Indian carmaker Tata's Detroit Auto Show stand next week.

Looking like a cross between the ultra-cheap Nano and Mitsubishi's i MiEV, the eMO was designed by the company's US-based offshoot, Tata Technologies, for this year's Michelin Design Challenge.

Details for the eMO's electric powertrain haven't been revealed, but Tata promises a driving range of around 160km and a top speed of 105km/h. Fairly standard stuff, there.

What's not standard fare is the eMO's price potential.

tata emo electric concept 06

Tata has already made a name for itself by offering its Indian-market Nano city car for a bargain-basement $3000, and according to the project's chief engineer Nigel Giddons, the same magic could be worked on the eMO.

Speaking with the New York Times, Giddons said that even without government incentives, the eMO could potentially be sold in the US market for as little as US$20,000 - roughly US$10,000 less than the North American version of the Mitsubishi i MiEV.

Giddons added that, unlike the comparitively primitive Nano, the eMO has been designed to pass the USA's safety requirements, making it a contender for most global markets.

So will the carmaker put the eMO into production? No.

Describing the eMO as a pure design study, Giddons said: "We are very keen to reinforce that there is no intention to produce this car." No beating around the bush, there.

Still, as with most concepts, the eMO could offer a glimpse if not of a future Tata EV, then at least of the next-generation Nano's styling.

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