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Commercial production of Tata's first electric car to start in Q1 of 2011

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The most keenly awaited electric car from the Tata Motors stable, the Indica Vista EV, will go into commercial production from the first quarter of 2011, said a senior official with Tata Motors European Research Centre (TMERC).

Speaking at the SME conference here organised by the Indian High Commission, Omar Hadded, director of marketing and commercialisation with TMERC said Vista EV will be targeted at international markets like the UK.

The electric version of the company’s blockbuster mini truck Ace will go into commercial production from next month.

The official said the fuel cell technology in a demonstrable format was being tested now, but the product was far from ready for the market. The fuel cell technology was the most coveted technology among auto makers around the world, he added.

The price of Vista EV will benchmarked with industry standards and retailed at around £29,000, while the ACE EV will be priced at around £13,000-14,000. The Vista EV will get a UK government subsidy of £5,000 and would cost the end customer £24,000.

The electric version of an established car has been created in record time, considering Indica was first rolled out in 1998, until which Tata Motors had never made passenger vehicles. The TMERC was created only five years back, in part to fulfil the group’s commitment to produce environmentally friendly vehicles.

Vista EV will be a four seater with provision for luggage and will have a maximum speed of 70 miles an hour or around 110 kmph. It will meet all intertional safety standards with ABS and Li-ion super polymer batteries and a range of 160 km to run without recharge. Full recharge will be possible in eight hours.

The Vista EV had won two awards last weekend among future cars between Brighton (south of UK) and London for being the most economic passenger electric vehicles.