PRICE isn’t the only ‘first ever’ aspect of Tata Motors’ Rs 1-lakh car. According to sources in the auto industry, the car will sport the world’s first 800cc, turbo-charged, CRDi diesel engine. The company is working on two engine options for the car. The petrol version with a 600cc engine will debut in 2008. The diesel version will follow later, probably in 2009.
While Bosch is working on the CRDi system for the Rs 1-lakh car, Honeywell Turbo India is understood to be working on the turbo charger. When contacted, a Tata Motors spokesperson refused to comment.
Sources said the 800cc, turbocharged, CRDi diesel engine will have two cylinders and crank out at least 30% more mileage compared to 800cc petrol cars. Given that the smallest diesel engine in India right now is the 1.3-litre Fiat multijet CRDi engine that Suzuki has strapped onto the Swift, and both Tata Motors and Fiat will use in its future models, the Rs 1-lakh car will offer at least 40% better fuel efficiency than any small diesel car currently available.
The ultra-small car has made India into a hub for both small-sized turbo chargers as well as CRDi systems. Honeywell Turbo, for instance, has set up an R&D hub in France, where its Indian team is working with European engineers to crank out turbo chargers for small diesel engines. Speaking to ET, Honeywell Turbo India MD Sanjay Sondhi said: “India will be the hub for small-sized turbos both in terms of manufacturing as well as design.” As for Bosch, India will be the sourcing hub for CRDi components, sources said.
The turbo-charged CRDi diesel engine on the Rs 1-lakh car would mean that it won’t be an unsophisticated ‘naturally aspirated’ engine like earlier cheaper diesels in India. In technology and sophistication terms, it will be no less than the Swift or Getz diesel or even the Fiesta, Fusion, Verna, Logan and other new generation diesel models currently available. Though popular earlier, naturally aspirated diesels are now virtually extinct in India. Because they are not Euro 4 compatible, which will be the mandated emission norm by 2010, companies have been replacing them with turbo-charged CRDi diesel engines