Image courtesy of DjohEnInde via flickr
Having just unveiled its $2,500 Nano to much fanfare, India's top carmaker, Tata Motors, is already setting its sights on the U.S. market; Reuters' Rina Chandran and The Hindu Business Line's Alka Kshirsagar are reporting that the Indian company has just signed a development contract with Chrysler - specifically its Global Electric Motorcars (GEM) unit - to bring an electric version of its Ace mini truck stateside.
Kshirsagar's industry sources informed him that the vehicle has already "passed required safety and reliability tests," and that the prototype is now "ready for production." The fully built Ace units Tata plans on sending GEM will lack an engine or gearbox; the American company will be tasked with equipping the units with motors and controllers.The electric vehicles GEM has helped build run on 72 V electrolyte or gel batteries; have a range of 30-40 miles on a single charge; and can go up to 25 mph.
The Indian carmaker hopes to begin exporting around 10,000 units by year's end, with production expected to ramp up to 50,000 units soon thereafter. In addition to bringing an electric version of the Ace to the U.S. market, Tata is studying the feasibility of launching it in its domestic market; the Ace is currently manufactured at its two plants in Pune and Pant Nagar.