The much-rumored Tata Nano electric, will be launched on November 28 but as the Jayem Neo. Tata Motors will supply complete Nano body shells without the engine and transmission to Coimbatore-based Jayem Automotives who will manufacture and market the EV. Jayem Automotives has a long-standing connotation with Tata Motors and lately arrived into a combined-venture (JT Special Vehicles) with the automaker to develop sporty versions of select Tata models. Whilst the present plan is for the Neo to be sold under the Jayem brand, Tata Motors too is likely to have its own version of the Neo in the future. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to launch the Jayem Neo in Hyderabad.
Jayem will source the electric powertrain from Electra EV, an expert firm in the business of design, growth and supply of electric powertrains, battery packs as well as charging infrastructure. Electra EV is a one-stop shop for providing solutions in the electrified vehicle space. With Nano’s volume fast declining, questions were raised about extension of the car’s production when Cyrus Mistry was the group chairman. In a letter to Tata Sons directors after his ouster, Mistry had said Tata Motors was unable to take the decision of shutting down the project due to “emotional reasons”, a reference to Ratan Tata’s participation in the project.
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 requirement of the Neo will only be accessible for the fleet market and not for individual 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. The Neo will be a Jayem branded car bringing no Tata badge, however the sides will tolerate a ‘powered by Electra EV’ moniker.
Jayem will supply the first batch of 400 Neos to taxi aggregator Ola Cabs at launch. The Neo will not remain a fleet-only option. There are plans to launch a more powerful form of the Neo for secluded buyers too, but this could be with a Tata badge.