Snapshot: Tata Motors will launch an electric power-steering equipped version of the Nano in India, on the 13th of January, 2014. Named the Nano Twist, the new variant is aimed at folks who find steering the current Nano a Herculean effort at parking speeds.
A power steering for a car weighing under 700 kilograms and featuring a rear engine layout is something that the designer’s didn’t conceive at the car’s design stage. Car buyer feedback, however, has necessitated the addition of a low-cost electric power steering to the world’s least priced car, the Tata Nano. Tata Motors’ decision to add an electric power steering to the Nano has to do with feedback from women and elderly drivers, who complained that steering the Nano at parking speeds was a tiresome affair.
The solution to this lies in a low cost, speed sensitive power steering unit developed by German autoparts major ZF. Tata Motors took the electric power steering route to avoid the load that a hydraulic power steering unit would put on the 624 cc twin cylinder petrol engine (37 Bhp-51 Nm) of the Nano. Choosing the electric power steering over the hydraulic unit is likely to result in a minimal impact of fuel efficiency, a crucial selling point of the Nano. With an unchanged steering ratio, the Nano with the power steering will retain its 4 meter minimum turning radius.
The Nano variants equipped with the electric power steering will be called the Nano Twist. Apart from the electric power steering, the Nano Twist variants will also get a revised instrumentation console with digital readouts for engine temperature and fuel gauge. The car will be sold in two variants, XC and XT. In terms of equipment levels, the new variants correspond to non-power steering equipped CX and LX variants. Expect to pay a premium of about 15,000 rupees for the Nano Twist variants equipped with the power steering.
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