A Tata Nano in India – this made-for-masses cheap mini could be the smart car for the poor man, in countries like Israel, Jordan and Egypt
Ever since India’s Tata Motors Company came out with its Nano micro mini car in 2009, and we featured it here on Green Prophet, people are still wondering if this tiny little bug shaped car is something that people outside of India might want to own as well. When it came out, it offered purchasers three models: the base model, the CX model and LX (“luxury”) model. When originally test driven in 2009, the LX model was used since it contained some features that more affluent buyers would appreciate; such as air conditioning, a central locking system, reclining front seats, a heater (not a big deal in southern India but good to have in northern Indian states); and a door lock on the passenger side that is not available on other models.
It’s not a gold plated mercedes, but the Tata Nano could be a good fuel-efficient driving model for the poorer Middle East countries.
If it’s cheap and green enough, why not?
Being a “micro car” the Nano gets great fuel mileage of up to 100 mpg (40 km per liter) and its 2 cylinder 624 CC MPFI engine is designed to run on fuel mixtures that contain bio fuels like ethanol, which can be made from a variety of natural biomass fuels, even those made from algae.
The cars only come with a four speed manual transmission transmission though, which is fine for India and perhaps other countries where drivers have not yet become spoiled to driving only with automatic gearshifts.
Biofuels, even those made from grains and sugar cane can also be grown locally, providing incomes for local farmers, although possibly at the expense of regional food supplies in arid areas like deserts.
The price of these cars seem cheap by Western standards, starting at around US $2000, but for the average Indian, especially those not blessed with having jobs in the high tech and other modern industries, paying 211,998 rupees ($3998) for a deluxe LX model with metallic paint might not be feasible, with many incomes not much more than a dollar a day.
But for many Indians who now hold jobs in the high tech and communications industries, these little cars don’t cost that much more than the small motorcycles that many Indians now own.
Nanos are not big on safety features though. There are no airbags, anti-lock brakes, or other safety equipment that are taken for granted elsewhere.
Whether Tata plans to come out with an electric version of this car remains to be seen. If it does plan to, the price will probably be much more; perhaps closer to a small European electric car, the Streetscooter that I wrote about earlier on Green Prophet, that is being developed in Germany and will sell for around $7,000.
That kind of price would be way out of line with most Indian purchasers; and along with that, it is doubtful that any kind of electric car infrastructure will be planned for Indian cities any time soon.
But for what it is, and in comparison with a motorbike or similar vehicle, the Nano is a welcome addition to India’s transportation needs. At last word, this little wonder car may be heading for the USA; and if so, it might wind up plying the streets of Middle Eastern cities as well.
The Tata Nano could be a great option for the oil-less nations such as Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Egypt –– nations where the cost of living is high, and the salaries low. We can’t stop progress, and we can still promote the use of bikes and public transport, but if the masses want and buy cars, and can’t afford Toyota Priuses, the Tata Nano might lead the way.
More articles on the Tata Nano and other green transportation sources:
India’s Tata Nano Could Change the Mobility of Millions
A $7,000 Electric Car Coming to the Middle East?
Green Cars are not New -Let’s Look back 90 Years
Algae Biofuel Closer as NATO and NASA Step into the Slime