Special Coverage

Auto Show

GENEVA – India’s Tata Motors Ltd. introduces new CEO Carl-Peter Forster, former head of General Motors Co.’s Adam Opel GmbH and no stranger to the annual auto show that opens to the media here today.

Foster says he will not give interviews until he has spent more time familiarizing himself with Tata. However, he tells Ward’s he will have a home in India and another in England, where the Indian auto maker’s Jaguar Land Rover brands are headquartered. JLR last month appointed former BMW AG and Ford Motor Co. executive Ralf Speth as its new CEO. He will answer to Forster. Tata shows two electric vehicles here. One is a Tata Nano version that will arrive in Europe in the next two to three years, Vice Chairman Ravi Kant, says. The other is the Indica Vista EV, which was shown at the last Geneva show and will be available in Europe next year.

Indica Vista EV bodies will be shipped to Miljo Grenland/Innovasjon in Norway, which is 72% owned by Tata Motors European Technical Center plc in the U.K. There, the cars will be remade into electric vehicles, with a 55 kW (74-hp) permanent magnet electric motor delivering 180 lb.-ft. (160 Nm) of torque.

The 4-door, 4-passenger car has a potential range of 99 miles (160 km) from its 529-lb. (240 kg) lithium-ion battery, packing 26.5 kWh of electricity.

David Saldanha, Tata’s chief engineer, says the motor will be sourced from Canada’s EM4 Inc. and the batteries will come from Canada and Korea. The Nano can use a smaller battery and motor because it is much lighter.

The electric Nano shown at the show has several design changes to reduce its mass, including a polycarbonate rear-hatch window.

Kant says it’s too early to talk about pricing for the Nano EV, but “we are very cost-conscious and price-conscious, and it will be in keeping with that.”

Sales of the Vista EV will begin in the U.K. and Scandinavian countries before moving to the rest of Europe. The timetable for India has not yet been decided.

Tata says this is the 13th year it has shown new products in Geneva.