Automotive

Tata displays impressive European City car concept - the low-cost, high-tech Pixel

Tata displays impressive Europ...
The Tata Pixel Concept
The Tata Pixel Concept
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The Tata Pixel Concept
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The Tata Pixel Concept
The Torotrak Zero toroidal traction-drive Infinitely Variable Transmission (IVT) links with the Pixel's steering system to offer remarkable turning ability
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The Torotrak Zero toroidal traction-drive Infinitely Variable Transmission (IVT) links with the Pixel's steering system to offer remarkable turning ability
Inside, the system is based around the drivers personal "tablet"
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Inside, the system is based around the drivers personal "tablet"
Scissor doors are standard these days on cars that will be parked in European city conditions where there simply isn't the space for swing doors
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Scissor doors are standard these days on cars that will be parked in European city conditions where there simply isn't the space for swing doors
The Tata Pixel Concept
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The Tata Pixel Concept
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The Tata Pixel Concept
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The Tata Pixel Concept

Growing Indian powerhouse Tata emphatically announced itself a player in European personal mobility at the Geneva Motor Show when it announced the Tata Pixel, a car built for European cities based on the Tata Nano. Tata claims the Pixel to be "the most package efficient four-seater in the world". The company's use of high-tech in the new vehicle includes connected services and Tata's own human-machine interface (HMI) concept, an infinitely variable transmission from Torotrak and a 1.2 liter turbo diesel offering 3.4 l/100km, but its biggest point-of-difference is that it is ultra maneuverable thanks to moveable wheels which give it a turning circle of just 2.6 meters.

The Torotrak Zero toroidal traction-drive Infinitely Variable Transmission (IVT) links with the Pixel's steering system to offer remarkable turning ability
The Torotrak Zero toroidal traction-drive Infinitely Variable Transmission (IVT) links with the Pixel's steering system to offer remarkable turning ability

The Pixel's extraordinary talent for maneuvering in very tight surroundings is due to the Torotrak Zero Turn toroidal traction-drive Infinitely Variable Transmission (IVT). The Nano's steering system is linked with the IVT control mechanism. By moving the outer rear wheel forward and the inner rear wheel backward, while the front wheels turn at more acute angles than we've seen before in anything but Nissan's PIVO I & II, the car essentially pivots around its rear axle. The resultant turning circle radius is just 2.6 meters.

Scissor doors are standard these days on cars that will be parked in European city conditions where there simply isn't the space for swing doors
Scissor doors are standard these days on cars that will be parked in European city conditions where there simply isn't the space for swing doors

As is becoming the custom with new city car designs, "scissor" doors have been used which enable the driver and passenger to exit the vehicle without requiring any footprint for door sweep.

Inside, the system is based around the drivers personal "tablet"
Inside, the system is based around the drivers personal "tablet"

Key functions are controlled by the driver's smart phone, running "My Tata Connect" which essentially uses the driver's smartphone or tablet as a central information display and touch-screen control panel for the car's entertainment and internet system, so the driver has the same media environment in the car as they have at the office and at home. Docking the tablet also allows a range of displays of the vehicles performance and adjustment of the air-con settings.

Even the turbocharged three-cylinder diesel engine has come in for a high tech workover with a variable coolant and oil pump and rapid warm-up technologies. The car has been optimized for aerodynamic drag in a wind tunnel, uses low rolling-resistance tyres, and micro-hybrid (stop-start) to eek out the last bits of energy so it can return a 3.4 l/100km European combined cycle (NEDC) fuel economy figure.

18 comments
TogetherinParis
This care is an unaerodynamic pig. The open wheel wells, lack of aero shape (no boat tail) and lack of smooth underside suggest that any work in the wind tunnel was by the art department, not aerodynamic engineering.
Richie Suraci
What about the price, can we get it in the US......
mommus
@TogetherinParis I think it\'s optimized as far as reasonably possible. Putting farings on the wheel wells, a smooth underside and a boat tail would be the stupidest city car design imaginable. It\'s not an aeroplane, it\'s a city car. Surely the most important aspect of engineering is establishing requirements. Did you just look up \'aerodynamics\' on Wikipedia? I think it looks great.
Richard Dinerman
How do you open the windows to hand your arm out? and what happens when you take the car to a mall or other venue that has covered/underground parking? Doesn\'t seem to me to be enough clearance...
Sergius
It is very similar to \"NIDO 600\" Pininfarina design, with the beautiness encountered only in the simplicity. Congratulations to Mr. Tata. I hope he develops, as soon as possible, a 0.6 l turbo diesel hybrid version to complete his masterpiece. Fantastic the IVT drive system and the info gadgets.
b. ozar
creative, innovative, frugal and with a competitive pricing this could be a winner, as consumers we need henry fords of future. well done.
John in Brisbane
I like it. And I bet it cost half the silly money of a smart. Get this thing to market for motor bike money (say $7 to $9 K in Australia/US dollars and Tata will become a global player. Price it like a premium car (I\'m talking to you, Mercedes/Smart) and watch it founder. Tata, look at Asus with their netbooks. Surprisingly cheap yet useful and bringing millions of new customers to the brand. Unlike the Smart, with that motor its a real car - it could even tow a small trailer I bet. I say keep it simple though - a simple manual motorbike-style gearbox is more than enough (and flicking gears sequentially is super cool) and lose the rear wheel steering - if ever there was a case of the KISS principle this is it. Re - aerodynamics - yeah I take the point above that it\'s not much better than a brick but designers always say stupid stuff like that... sounds good in the brochures and techies and car nerds are not the target market of those brochures! It will spend most of it\'s life doing between 20 and 110 kph so who cares. I have a Ford Fiesta and while it drives better than this Tata ever would, its fuel economy is disappointing. I\'ve considered going to the combination of a cheap motor bike and cheap bigger vehicle. This Tata could accomplish 95% of my driving tasks and if it was cheap enough, with the difference I would buy or share a larger car for that other 5% of tasks. I\'d be a serious potential customer for one of these at the right price. Price it cheap, Tata.
Caimbeul
togetherinparis has little understanding of aerodynamics or simple practicality. Aside from apparent ignorance of the Kamm effect allowing bobtailed aero effects - fact remains this is a commuter car rarely exceeding 60kph. Yup. Let\'s cover over the wheels and achieve another .0025mpg. Get out of the ivory tower.
Chris Jordan
I also immediately compared this car to the Pininfarina. It sure is terrible that most concepts fade away. This design makes a lot more sense than a squashed 4 door jellybean. Extremely useful too!!! I like it, but I hesitate to say so since almost everything people like vanishes.
Wombat56
I would have liked to see some details on safety equipment. Curtain air-bags? Electronic stability control?