Tata Nano EV will be launched as the Jayem Neo this year

Tata nano EV concept at Geneva Motor Show 2010

The Tata Nano EV is a slow, small, light and cheap four-seater electric car that looks like the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Most people don’t consider this kind of car to be relevant, but on a global scale it is. More than SUVs and sport electric cars that we fancy so much.


According to Autocar India the first 400 units will be used as taxis by Ola Cabs.


The Neo will be driven by a 48-Volt electric system that puts out 17kW (23hp), which is a modest output for a car weighing around 800kg (the conventional 623cc petrol Nano weighs 636kg). However, this specification of the Neo will only be available for the fleet market and not for personal use and according to sources is ‘powerful enough to serve the purpose as a city taxi’. Sources claim an ARAI cycle range of 200km on a full charge, which drops to around 140km with four persons and air-conditioning.


Furthermore, AutoCar India adds that a more powerful version will arrive to private buyers, possibly with specs closer to the Tata nano EV concept that have been on auto shows since 2010.


Tata Nano EV technical specs


I know that slow electric cars like this won’t spark much enthusiasm in Europeans and North Americans drivers, nevertheless this kind of cars is the most important to reduce pollution and traffic congestion problems in many overpopulated Asian cities. How useful are fast cars when the roads are constantly jammed?!


Traffic jam on Indian road


Imagine all the toxic fumes that the drivers in the photo above are breathing. This could be prevented if those cars were replaced by small and efficient electric cars, they don’t need to be supercars.

Big and heavy electric cars on jammed roads aren’t the solution, but small and lighter electric cars are, especially when combined with better public transportation.


To sum up, India and China are betting in small and light electric cars to – in part – solve pollution and traffic congestion problems in overpopulated cities. If we think on a global scale, this kind of electric cars is much more important than big and fast electric cars – that we spoiled Europeans and North Americans can drive on open roads.


What do you think? Are slow, but cheap and efficient electric cars only suitable for overcrowded Asian cities, or do you see them working on other regions too?



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Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. I’m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

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3 years ago

I like it. It looks like a slightly more compact rendering of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV . . . the EV I own and has proven to be a marvelous car (mine, a 2012, purchase used 2 years ago, has now logged 10K trouble-free miles.) What doesn’t become apparent until you actually spend some time around them is that egg-shaped subcompacts like this Tata and the i-MiEV are among the most efficient in accommodating passengers and belongings in as small a space as possible. Function dictates form.

I live in the southwest US . . . the land of wide open desert spaces and oversized SUVs. Little EVs like this can work just as well here as they would on crowded Asian city streets. Range per charge is a potential issue for some, but better batteries that are only getting cheaper will address that before too long. The biggest obstacle is the mainstream automotive press, which touts luxury and aggressive performance over practicality and utility. Too many consumers – especially in the US – buy into that snake oil.

3 years ago

I think that cars in the format of a Volkswagen Up, Toyota Aygo, Hyundai i10 and so on would be a good car as EV. Most of the time you don’t need a bigger car because there is only one person in car or one adult an children, but at the same time you can drive in it on the motorway, if necessary.