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back to article Tata to release UK's first 'serious' electric car

Though lacking the glamour of some of the other electric cars shown at the Geneva Motor Show Tata Motors' Indica Vista EV may be the first that you will actually be able to drive because, if the mutterings around the Tata stand are to be believed, the car will be launched in Norway in September and be available to buy in major …

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Happy

Indica Vista EV

"Vista" - hmm, will probably wait until SP1 arrives for it before thinking about buying one...

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Ray
Paris Hilton

bah

read this as tatu. paris coz no tatu.

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Surely

the Ford Edsel wins the most ill-judged move award?

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Boffin

Safety

Isn't 0-38mph in 10 seconds rather unsafe?

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Please don't call it a Jag

This looks promising.

Of course all the motoring press and programs will pan it. But they'll miss the point. For all sorts of short journeys a car like this will make a lot of sense. School runs (so long as new Lab don't ban kids from going to any school within 200miles in case middle class parents buy houses), driving to the station, short commutes. In all of these situation this car could make sense.

Of course it won't make sense for longer runs. It won't be possible to drive to the South of France. It isn't going to be any good for a track day weapon. But if you want to reduce vehicle emissions on the road (which is what most people seem to think is being green) then this could be a good thing.

We'll just have to get used to the idea that there is no "one size fits all" kind of car. If it became more normal for people to either own a range of vehicles to suit differing needs. Or to own the one that they need most often and then rent the ones they need occasionally it could work.

Of course none of this effects the "whole life" environmental aspects, but then 90% of environmentalist don't care about that. For many cars the impact of their manufacture and disposal are much more of an issue than their running emissions. But telling people that the best way to reduce emissions is to stop going shopping isn't going to make you popular with either the "chattering classes" for whom green is the new black, or with the industrialist or anyone who would like a job.

But please just don't call it a Jag. I think Tata could well be a good thing for Jaguar. A well sorted electric car with a yet to be invented technology may make the ultimate Jaguar. But this car wouldn't.

I wonder how fast JC will drain the batteries on this one.

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Gates Horns

Vista?...

Thats asking for fail.

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IT Angle

How much?

How much will it cost to fuel it for 125 miles?

And how much for a petrol jobbie?

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Unhappy

Don't call me Shirley

I think the grim CityRover was the least of Rover's problems. At least it didn't cost them much to design.. some new badges and a tweak to the suspension I think. I actually like MGs and Rovers, I was sad to see the company go under in 2005.

Drifting waaaay off topic, even if Rover had been bailed out in 2005, it would probably have gone bust as the economy imploded, even if they had managed to produce the promising looking RDX60 - http://www.aronline.co.uk/index.htm?rdx60indexf.htm

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looks very much like a car ford make!

Looks like a ford focus to me

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Stop

Not just Engineering

Tata need a dealer network, service facilities etc. etc.

I'm not sure how Jaguar or Land Rover dealers will respond.

Tata also need some brand presence with the general public in the UK. They are enormous but most of the normal (non Reg reading) public won't have heard of them.

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Re: Edsel

No I reckon the most ill-judged move of all time in the automotive business has to be ringing the appropriate figures on a Ford internal memo about flaming Pinto passengers, legal liabilities and the likely cost of a recall, handwriting "cheaper to let them burn" in the margin and signing it off as policy.

Second most ill-judged move of all time? Letting a copy of the annotated version of that same memo fall into the hands of the Plaintiff's attorneys.

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Stop

CityRover was never a real car either

"Looks like a real car not a G-Whizz"

Before reading the article I saw the pics and thought that looks like one of those horrid CityRovers.. What a surprise when I got to the last paragraph... NOT.

Still looks too much like the CityRover to be taken seriously... Also, only once the range of these 'leccy cars comes close to that of the current petrol/diesel ones at proper speeds will they become a viable alternative. I imagine the quoted 125 mile range is not achieved by driving near 80mph for any length of time.

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Boffin

Not the first 'serious' electric car in Britain.

Clive Sinclair got there first, 20-odd years ago.

http://www.sinclairc5.com/

Ginger boffin.

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xjy
Paris Hilton

Enormous?

That doesn't get close -- Tata Steel etc is one of the hugest conglomerates in the world in private hands, based in India. They can more or less do what they like except murder people in full public view -- they use the cops and military for that. Think that the old Japanese invasion, then the German one and then the Chinese (not to mention the US post-world-war-2) were big? Think again. Tata is just dipping its toe into Europe with this one. Talk about the Ford T and what it did to the car industry. This is Ford squared. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if Tata in its softly softly manner were the ones to buy Ford -- maybe Ford and General Motors together if the price is right.

As AC just implied: Be Warned (and if you're paranoid and blinkered like Dazed and Confused: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid!).

(Paris cos she and Tatu should get together and buy up the US and Europe (and why not Japan?) while they're at it...)

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Tim

Disappointing...

One of the primary advantages of leccy cars is meant to be acceleration, due to the leccy motor's high torque at low rpm, but this thing isn't much faster than the average fridge freezer.

Secondly, they seem to have forgotten to drape a cutie over it.

Tim#3

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Launch proposal in Britain

I'm not sure on timing of the launch, but I can heartily recommend a location....off the cliffs of Dover.

Wait until the first time it shuts down. You will be encouraged to open your handbook; phone the call centre in Mombai, where someone will read and recite the following from a script :-

"walk round to the back of the vehicle and reboot 3 times"

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Happy

@conrad

very interesting m8!

never heard of the RDX60 before, n1 ;)

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b
Go

the city rover killed off rover?!

er, wtf...

the whole sorry mess was in terminal decline anyway..it wasn't the city rover that wot done it, govnor..

..actually i quite like that 'rally-lite' class of car..juding by the state of the criminally underfunded road network in britain right now, you actually *need* cars with some decent ground clearance to get around..also, so i'm told, what with those pesky life-saving speed bumps, the incidences of cars needing to have their broken road springs replaced is shooting up. i just had to replace one on an old bmw 318 just to get it sold.

ironically, imo, rover actually started to make some nice models at the death..some of the little mg 200's looked quite cool, and the facelifted 800 was quite groovy for that class.

trouble is new model development is SO expensive and they couldn't afford to get stuck in to the r&d required to effect this..so went bust. (that's even *with* using honda models as their base!).

but british leyland were on a permanent downward spiral anyway, a testament to very bad management.

all those famous brands like triumph (which i call the "english bmw") which were swallowed up and taken over the cliff in a fatal embrace with all those other brands..(i had two 2500's and loved 'em). the dolly sprint was one of the first cars to have 16valves (on a 4 pot) and if you don't get excited by a stag, then you ain't a true motor head!

aah!

fyi i now have a C220 merc diesel which does between 40-50mpg.

bbbbbut, if leccy cars were all around us and available 2nd hand i would buy one tomorrow..

GET ON WITH IT!!!

cheers,

bill

p.s. stuff and nonsense: http://www.eupeople.net/forum

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@"And how much for a petrol jobbie?"

ROFL!

I just have this image of something malodorous and flammable deposited at the roadside by a solvent jakey.

Answer to the question is therefore one pound, as in: " Gonnae geissa poon furra litra unleadit pal?"

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@elmer phud @conrad longmore

@elmer phud

With electricity priced in pennies for Kwh and petrol in fractions of a £ EVs typically win hands down. However the battery packs have often been the joker in the pack. Will it last the vehicle or need replacing every x years? Remember its Ford's financing arm that have been the only bit making a profit for the company.

@Conrad

<rant>

I'd say putting a bunch of dodgy Brummies in who preceeded to soak the govt for a handout and preceeded to use a large chunk of it to top up their own pension funds (does this sound familar..) before having the Chinese run rings around them and the company into the ground.

In the 1970s they called it asset stripping. I hope the 4 men concerned enjoy their retirement and never go near any kind of business. If they do I hope the British government never puts a penny in it.

The only upside is their "Fearless" reduction of over capacity in European car manufacturing capacity.

</rant>

But generally not too bad. Range and speed look reasonable for Europe and developed by a specialist in EV projects, not a car R&D lab. Hope it has regen braking as well.

However no one seems to consider tapping the suspension for energy. A normal tech car on springs (IE c100Kg moving through x cm's against g) puts substantial force on the springs. It never seems to be collected for recharging but must be pretty substantial. The power level needed is (IIRC) why no one does a totally "Active" suspension any more. They all rely on some electro-fluid power storage and release (oil or gas depending on system) through high pressure but fast acting valves.

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Happy

Vista is not all you see ...

Don't think that piccie is of an EV. Or does an EV also need a 12v battery and sound deadening stuff under the bonnet for an ELECTRIC motor?

Still vapourware methiks. Wish the other Vista was ...

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Anonymous Coward

cars take more energy to produce than to drive

I see this comment many times, but It is never backed up. If we use aluminium to build the car, then it takes 21,100 kwh of energy to make a ton of alauminium by smelting bauxite (and this is without any recykling).

Now a gallon of petrol is about 43kwh. That means that if we made a car from the most energy-expensive possible raw materials (aluminium instead of steel + no recycling) then it would take about 490 gallons of petrol to smelt the aluminium.

Now if the car lasts 10 years then that is less than one gallon of fuel per week. (And then you can re-smelt the aluminium saving 95% of the energy used )

So I reckon that the "it takes more energy to make a car than to drive it" is just total urban-myth.

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MGJ

@Dazed and Confused

Actually there is a lot of work being done about full emissions costing of car production, mostly in Germany by VW, but the models used are not always completely applicable. They add on the CO2 etc emissions of useage (based on fuel economy etc) to show that replacing an older car may be viable or not. Unfortunately the models show that it is the rep in his 3 year old Vectra doing 50,000 miles a year that should trade up to a newer more efficient model rather than the 2,000 miles a year, second or third "shopping car". These might well be great for car clubs though.

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@Elmer Phud

Electricity is massively cheaper than supertaxed petrol. The real cost of an electric car is replacing that battery after about 500 charge cycles. I did the math for a GWiz and decided electricity+battery was slightly less than petrol at the moment. Barrels of oil might get cheaper, but I cannot see the price of petrol falling. If world+dog buys electric cars, electricity will get more expensive until we get a pile of nukes and a grid big enough to handle the extra current. Guess yourself whether a huge increases in demand for lithium will be matched by increases in supply.

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Boffin

How Much?

To Elmer Phud:

How much will it cost to fuel it for 125 miles?

Well according to Wikipedia the Tesla uses 10.9 kW·h/100 km (this figure includes charging inefficiencies). 125 miles is 201 km so the Tesla would require 21.909 kW·h to travel 125 miles. NPower charges 8.40p per kWh, so that would be £1.84 for 125 miles which is much better than petrol or diesel. I expect the Tata Indica EV would be comparable to the Tesla as they both use similar batteries and are not too different in size.

To Dazed and Confused. "Of course it won't make sense for longer runs. It won't be possible to drive to the South of France"

Well you never know, I was driven to the south of France a few months back and I did actually see one or two charging stations for electric cars along the way. Don't know how long it would take to charge though.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Bill re: the cityrover killed off rover

I think you're probably thinking of the Streetwise; this is the Shittyrover, oh sorry I mean Cityrover:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cityrover

Here's the Streetwise for comparison:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rover_Streetwise

There was a good reason the Cityrover tanked; it was a terrible car!

I don't suppose anyone remembers the old Tata pickup trucks they used to import into the UK during the 1980s? The ones which seemed to have panels more or less thrown at the chassis at random. I swear I saw one where you could see through to the other side of it through the gaps ;)

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Bits and Bobs

Fair enough Rover made many mistakes in its last five years inc. not taking the Viking badge of the entire range apart from the lwb 75 and focusing on the MG brand, wasting money on stuffing an aged Ford V8 in the swb 75, wasting even more money on the whole MG-X project inc. parting with £10m for Qvale but trying to sell the Indica in the UK was just taking the Michael and destroyed any goodwill that MG-Rover may still have had in its home market. It also suggested that the management at MG-R weren't just cash strapped, but incompetent.

As for the Vista EV's performance, getting to 40 odd mph in 10 seconds isn't much worse than the performance of a 1.6Lxi Skoda Octavia I once owned. It took 14.9 seconds to hit 60 and was perfectly usable day-to-day.

Re. the 12v battery, I suspect - though I may be wrong - that the usual vehicle ancillaries present such as the lights, ciggie lighter, stereo etc run off the 12v battery as they do on the petrol version - to save cost - and that the 12v unit is charged from the motive system. The sound insulation probably comes as part of the Vista bonnet sub-assembly no matter what the engine type.

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@MGJ

That was exactly my point. There are people who should be replacing cars frequently to get the most efficient and there are people who should still be driving around in a model T. There is no one size fits all answer.

@Jim

Aluminium is smelted electrically. Even when I was looking at this back in the 70s when the world was worried about the rapidly approaching ice age and the need to keep miner busy most Ali was smelted in places where there was cheap Hydro Electric power. Most cars are made of steel though, which is typically carbon smelted. It takes a lot more coal to make a ton of steal than iron ore. Hence they typically have steal works near coal mining areas rather than near iron ore mines.

If the petrol super tax was applied to the whole carbon cycle of cars you would see a move to ali cars over night.

@Drunken,

The difficulty is the charging time.

Petrol is just such an efficient way to store, transport and transfer energy.

It might well prove the most efficient way to make "electric" cars is to use "green" electricity to make carbon neutral petrol and then carry on using that as the way to get energy to the cars.

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It's going to be crap...

It has 'Vista' in its name.

Also, it is electric.

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Anonymous Coward

@Toastan Buttar

Calling the Sinclair C5 a 'serious electric car' is like calling the Sinclair ZX81 a 'serious web server'.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Safety by Pink Duck

" Isn't 0-38mph in 10 seconds rather unsafe?" It is but it is faster than my diesel vanagon(t25).

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I want what I have now

before I look at the "environmental" or "green" impact.

Fraid my job won't give me an allowance for not getting in ontime cause the leccy at home was off or I forgot the charge the car overnight. Nor is the boss OK when I'm 20 minutes late due to traffic which I can make up for on dual carriageways when stuck behing a fecking tractor.

When it can do upwards of 100mph and get to 60 in under 14 seconds will talk. Oh, and it's the same cost as current cars too.

Additionally, and I may very well be wrong here - but leccy is generally supplied by burning fossil fuels at power stations. So how is it better for the environment to use a car powered by the sparky stuff compared to the see-through smelly stuff at pumps?

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Rechargable cars won't work

I live in a flat. I, and many others, cannot park these things near a mains socket to charge them.

Is every street parking place and office car park going to be fitted with a charger? What if I'm driving to Blackpool on holiday and run low on charge? I'll have to find the right place to park up for a few hours.

I just can't see how a rechargeable car is practical

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Tom

It's all in a name...

Where I come from, 'tata' means either goodbye, (ta-tah) or rubbish, like: "don't bother with an iphone mate, you're paying for tata" IE 'shit'.

Almost as good as the cafe' Quim in Barcelona, where the cup always spilleth over...

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@drunken

Thanks for the numbers. £1.84 for 125 miles says a lot.

Sadly as others have said its not the whole story. Access to a charging socket , charge time (even a partial charge) and the battery pack replacement costs all cause issues.

Getting some socket infrastructure in place would be a start. The project in the North West is promising. Having somewhere to go if your running out which can charge you up without a tow all the way home would be a start. Li titanate (LiTiO?) can help with charge time but the number or re-charge cycles has to improve or pack design has to standardise. 500 cycles is not even 2 years on a daily charge.

And the name has got to go. Vista is fail waiting to happen.

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