Tata Motors' UK subsidiary, Tata Motors European Technical Centre, has bought a 50.3% holding in electric vehicle technology firm Miljø Grenland/Innovasjon of Norway for NOK12m (GBP1.12m; US$1.93m) and plans to launch an electric Indica hatchback in Europe next year.

Miljø Grenland/Innovasjon specialises in developing technology for electric vehicles. The balance of shares will be retained by existing stakeholders who will remain associated with the venture.

Miljø will produce electric vehicles based on Tata Motors' products, alongside polymer lithium ion batteries and its ongoing development of related technologies.

"Tata Motors believes that this investment in Miljo will help the company realise its strategy to develop convenient, affordable and sustainable mobility solutions through electric and hybrid vehicles," the automaker said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Indica EV will be the first Tata EV on sale, with launch in Europe scheduled for 2009.

"Unlike existing electric vehicles, Indica EV will be a more practicable option for the consumer: capable of carrying four people, adequate luggage space, with a predicted range of up to 200km (120 miles) and acceleration of 0-60 km/h in under 10 seconds," Tata said.

"As in the Nano, Tata Motors continues its innovative approach with Indica EV too, using super polymer lithium ion batteries which will have superior energy density compared to the current best-in-class electric vehicles."

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