If you’re of a certain age, the word Emo evokes images of sulking, depressed teenagers with jet-black hair metaphorically drowning in a world of sorrow, complex poetry and dark, emotional music.

So you can understand our amusement when Indian automaker Tata decided to name its latest electric mobility concept vehicle the Tata Emo.

Yes, the curse of electric-car-names-that-also-mean-something-completely-different has struck again. 

Due to be officially unveiled next week at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, the Emo is almost the antithesis to the group of depressed teens that share its name. 

Looking a little like a slightly larger, more futuristic version of Tata’s popular Nano microcar, the Emo was built to pass tough federal safety requirements. 

With a tall but narrow stance, all-glass roof, seating for four and suicide rear doors that resemble those found on the Mazda RX-8, the Emo even looks better than the Tata Nano.

Despite similarities in appearance and size however, Tata is keen to point out that there’s no mechanical relationship between the Emo and the Nano. 

When it comes to interior appointment however, the two cars are more alike than you might hope.

There’s no leather seats, dual-zone climate controls or fancy entertainment systems. Like some kind of perverted race car, every luxury has been scarified in the pursuit of weight saving. 

But racing isn’t something you’ll ever see the Tata Emo do. An unspecified battery pack and electric motor gives the Emo a range of around 100 miles, while top speed is limited to just 65 mph.

Tata Emo Electric Concept

Tata Emo Electric Concept

The weight saving continues into the Emo’s body panels. While the chassis is made of a traditional steel structure, the outer body panels are made of a molded polymer that do not require painting. Naturally, these also weigh less than traditional metal panels. 

Ultimately, these weight savings lead to financial savings too, and while Tata has no plans to release the Emo as a production car it points out the Emo could be sold for less than $20,000. 

We love the idea of an electric city car that’s fun, lightweight and saves you money, but the Tata Emo isn’t it. 

Sacrificing a working rear hatch for structural strength, and forcing drivers to use the rear seats as a cargo area, the Emo’s mediocre and compromised stance just leaves us feeling a little... depressed. 

On further thought, perhaps Emo is the perfect name after all. 


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