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by Tim Beissmann

Indian city car manufacturer Tata has unveiled the innovative Tata Pixel concept at the Geneva Motor Show, a vehicle that has one rather nifty party piece.

Based on the world’s cheapest car, the Tata Nano, the Pixel features what Tata calls a ‘Zero Turn toroidal traction-drive Infinitely Variable Transmission (IVT)’. It may not be the catchiest name, but the technology certainly has potential for city cars of the future.

By rotating the outer rear wheel forwards and the inner rear wheel backwards during low-speed manoeuvres, the Pixel can reduce its turning circle radius to just 2.6 metres – which is smaller than the vehicle itself.

The compact turning circle allows it to fit into tight spaces and make U-turns in streets where a standard three-point turn would be difficult.

Tata says the system is both highly efficient and cost-effective to produce.

The Pixel is an economical city runabout, too. Its 1.2-litre three-cylinder diesel uses 3.4 litres/100km and emits just 89g/km CO2. Mild hybrid technologies – including start-stop, brake energy regeneration, low rolling-resistance tyres and an aerodynamically optimised design – contribute to the environmentally conscious package.

The diamond-shaped scissor doors allow easier access to 2+2 front and rear seats and mean opening in tight spaces is not an issue.

The Pixel also introduces ‘My Tata Connect’ – Tata’s version of integrated human-machine interface technology.

Able to connect to either the driver’s smartphone or iPad-style tablet, the touchscreen display acts as an all-in-one infotainment system, allowing users to control all of the vehicle’s key functions, including music and air-conditioning, as well as access the internet and the vehicle’s performance data.

Tata does not have production plans for the Pixel concept, but expect the technology to filter through to its future city vehicles, including the next generation Nano.




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