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India: The $20,000 electric car

The Tata eMO is incredibly cute, fairly practical, and may become reality now that India’s Tata is teaming up with France’s Dassault Systems to actually produce the low-cost car.

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The $20,000 electric car
The Tata eMO is incredibly cute, fairly practical, and may become reality now that India’s Tata is teaming up with France’s Dassault Systems to actually produce the low-cost car.
Tue, Jul 03 2012 at 4:31 PM EST

CHEAP WHEELS: The Tata eMO aims for 100 miles on a charge, and a $20k bottom line. (Photo: Jim Motavalli)
I was stopped dead in my tracks at the Detroit Auto Show this year by the Tata Motors eMO concept, an electric car designed (in the U.S.) to sell for less than $20,000. And it was both really cute and practical! But Tata had tucked it away at the Michelin Challenge Design display, and there was no word about it being produced. “Why not?” I asked. Turns out they listened to me.

C’mon, it’s really cute, I said. The 18.4-kilowatt-hour battery pack promises as much as 100-mile range. And electric cars at that price are the holy grail. Here’s the car on video I shot in Detroit:

Right now, if you want to plug in, you’d better have $35,000 to $40,000 ready. Sure, there’s a $7,500 federal tax credit, but you won’t get that right away. President Obama is quietly pushing to increase the rebate to $10,000 and to have it apply to the seller, which means you’d get the money upfront. But it has about as much chance of passing Congress as an expanded health care law.
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