Autocar India: Tata Manza Range Extender previews future hybrid tech

Tata Motors' launched its Horizonext campaign last year with sustainability and electric vehicle technology among the key focus areas. The Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC), based at the University of Warwick in Coventry, UK, has been making steady progress in R&D in this area culminating in the development of a Manza REEV (range extended electric vehicle) demonstrator vehicle.

This vehicle incorporates a lot of the learnings from the TMETC's in-house research into high voltage distribution systems, battery design and vehicle controller development. TMETC, part of Tata Motors' global R&D network, works in sync with the automaker's three design studios in Pune, Coventry and Turin. It has been driving development and innovation of all Tata Motors products, including the upcoming Zest sedan and Bolt hatchback.

The Manza REEV has been undergoing extensive testing at the TMETC. It has a pure electric range of 88km with a low-cost auxillary motor (developed in-house) based on existing internal combustion engine technology kicking in on request to allow the driver to continue the journey in hybrid mode.

While we didn't get a chance to drive the Manza REEV, the engineering team at TMETC says the car has excellent driveability and a 0-100kph time of less than 15 seconds. The estimated top speed is 136kph. Tata Motors' focus on EV technology encompasses mico-hybrid, mild hybrid, full EV and range extender technologies but the company feels that range extenders may be a better and more core cost-effective solution for markets like India that lack the infrastructure to support full electric vehicles.

In fact, the company claims that the cost of a range extender-based vehicle using the company's in-house battery system will cost less than just the battery on a purely electric vehicle.