Pixel, a future city car for the developed markets

S. Muralidhar Geneva | Updated on March 02, 2011 Published on March 02, 2011

The Pixel, Tata Motors’ new city car concept for Europe, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.

Tata Motors, which has been a regular at the Geneva Motor Show for years, unveiled a new concept at the 2011 edition on Tuesday. Based on the Tata Nano platform, and featuring new-age styling and high-end technology, the Pixel is Tata Motor's showcase of what a future city car for the developed markets in Europe could look like.

The Pixel is just over three metres in length and looks like an even more modern day interpretation of the Nano. There are a lot of interesting new features in the Pixel including the use of LEDs and new types of plastics and polymers. To give the Pixel, currently only a concept, more hi-tech touches, Tata designers have added scissor-style door opening and a new human-machine interface (HMI) that simply uses a tablet phone. The Pixel has been designed and conceptualised by the Tata Motors European Technical Centre.

Inner Space

The Pixel was unveiled at the Geneva Show by Mr Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Sons and Tata Motors. The new concept is being claimed to be the most efficient package in terms of space and like the Nano, is capable of seating four adults. To take forward its city-user friendliness further the Pixel also features an unique zero turn toroidal traction-drive infinitely variable transmission. The system assists rotation of the outer rear wheel forwards and the inner rear wheel backwards during low-speed manoeuvres, while the front wheels turn at acute angles. The result is a turning radius of just 2.6 metres.

The new Pixel concept also introduces the ‘My Tata Connect' HMI system, which allows the seamless integration and connectivity of the car user's smartphone or tablet with the vehicle's infotainment system. The driver can then control all the key functions of the car from the handset's touchscreen. In addition to doing its job as a phone, the tablet or smartphone also serves as the infotainment display allowing changes to temperature, ventilation and air-conditioner settings.

In the Pixel, Tata engineers and designers have added a 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder, turbocharged diesel engine that is mounted at the rear of the vehicle, like in the Nano. The engine is a low-friction unit, featuring variable coolant and oil pump, and rapid warm-up technologies. It also integrates a start-stop and intelligent battery charging systems. The Tata Pixel is said to be capable of returning a European combined cycle fuel economy of 3.4 litres per 100 km and just 89 gm per kilometre of CO{-2} emissions.

Freelander in India

Speaking to visiting journalists at the sidelines of the show, Mr Carl-Peter Forster, Managing Director and Group CEO of the Tata Motors Group, confirmed that the Freelander will be the first vehicle to be locally assembled in India. He said CKD operations are expected to commence before June this year. The first trial runs have been started and simultaneously the network is being expanded to increase the number of dealers from about 10 to 13 by the time assembly operations start. The recently launched Range Rover Evoque, a compact SUV, will likely be launched in India sometime early next year. He also added that the assembly will focus only on catering to the domestic market and that there are no plans currently to export out of the India assembly for Jaguar Land Rover.

Working on Fiat partnership

Speaking about the Tata-Fiat relationship, Mr Forster denied rumours that the joint venture was in jeopardy. He, however, confirmed that the two companies are trying to rework some of the synergies that the partnership is currently attempting to leverage, which could change all aspects of the relationship including retail operations.

Published on March 02, 2011
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