India’s Ola Adds Electric “Tata Nano” to Its Fleet
While the production of the “world’s cheapest” and possibly worst car ceased earlier this year, it wasn’t really the end for the Tata Nano. As the Nano was heading towards its apparent demise, Tata signed an agreement with Coimbatore-based Jayem Automotives in 2017 to supply them with the shell of the car, which Jayem would then fit with an electric powertrain. The car will be rebranded as Neo, under the Jayem badge.
The government of India has been trying to boost the local electric vehicle industry by offering subsidies to manufacturers of electric vehicles, and Jayem has been granted one to build the Neo. This means that Jayem can add features to the otherwise basic car without jacking up its price; the Neo is expected to be on par with the petrol-powered Nano with metallic paint and sell for Rs 5 lakh (US$7,200).
It will be powered by a 48V electric motor generating 23 bhp. Automotiv Research Association of India ratings give it a range of 200 kilometers on a single charge; with a full capacity of driver and four passengers and air-conditioning switched on, this falls to 140 kilometres.
The first batch of Neos has been sold to India’s ride-hailing service provider, Ola, which will add the electric cars to its Hyderabad fleet. The initial order was only for 400 units, but it has been recently reported that Tata Motors Finance has extended a Rs 400 crore (US$5.7 million) loan to Ola to purchase the Neo, and subsequently the first order is expected to increase to at least 1,000 units. So, loan someone money to buy something from someone else buying things from you—we see what you’re doing, Tata, and it’s brilliant.