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Who Wants A Tata Nano? 230,000 People

It’s a good time to be Tata Motors. Tata has recently come out with the Tata Nano, a compact city car that seats 4 and costs about $2,000 for the basic version and a $3,300 for the higher end Nano LX. About 230,000 customers have placed orders.

This is, of course, more than Tata can produce at the moment. They can build about 100,000 cars this year, and will use a lottery system to decide which lucky customers will actually walk away with a car.

Is the Tata Nano clean? Not especially. Although there is speculation that Tata might one day come out with an electric version, the current Nano runs on gasoline. It’s a small car, but its footprint will be measured in the hundreds of thousands.

Obviously, the growing middle class in India and China provides an unprecedentedly huge market for no-frills, ultra cheap cars. The question is – what kind of gasoline-free car will work for the Indian market? China’s BYD is already selling cheap electric cars. But would those work in India? Is the infrastructure in place?

Electric cars in India might not work yet, but biodiesel probably would. India is rich in biomass, and the biofuel technology doesn’t require the same kind of overarching infrastructure that electric cars will need. According to a rumor on WheelsUnplugged, a diesel Nano might actually be in the works; if it gets the same kind of customer response as the current version, you can bet that a lot of people will start producing and selling biodiesel to make it run.

Via Green, Inc

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Not clean?
written by Andrew, May 05, 2009
Is the Prius clean? The Nano gets 52 mpg - while it may not have as sophisticated emissions equipment, in terms of raw climate change impact, the Nano is no worse.

Add to that the fact that the vehicles it will be displacing are most likely 2-stroke scooters that get only marginally better mileage (and can carry fewer people, and are less safe).

While it's true that this does represent a tremendous new demand for cars - which is not a good thing - especially if the road-building plans in India continue to be scaled up, it's important to untangle ideology from impacts. The Nano isn't that bad.
small engine is way cleaner than large e
written by loleeGreen, May 05, 2009
52mpg is way better than cars a typical car in North America. I agree with Andrew that whilst the technology for combustion engine may not be top notch, that's what we need to build upon! true compact car with less material/weight/waste and ultimately less pollution!
It's Hip To Be Green!
written by Lisa Hawkins, May 05, 2009
Why would biodiesel be better why not the air car? People keep getting stuck on fuel based cars. Why not just get an air car and skip the Nano? I would.
written by Chelsea, May 05, 2009
That's pretty cool. I remember something like this came out about a year ago and my dad was pre-ordering. I don't know if it's the same thing. Sweet if he gets one though.
written by Jim Jacobs, May 05, 2009
Actually, the number of orders is 203,000 in just the last two weeks! Total orders appear to now be over 500,000! They're charging $6 per application. $3 million so far. Not bad when you consider they haven't delivered the first vehicle yet.

Perhaps Detroit is paying attention.
Biofuel instead of electric?
written by Ryan Baker, May 06, 2009
I don't understand your comment that electric would have such a hard time in India. Sure, their power infrastructure sucks, but I think it's good enough to charge the vehicle overnight. Also from what I know from talking to Indian friends there isn't a great deal of cross country driving done. Mostly alot of stuck in traffic.

On the other side, I didn't quite understand why biofuel would be good. Sure, India produces a lot of food, but they eat pretty much all of it. I really doubt they have lots of excess ready to put into biofuel.
written by Yoni, May 06, 2009
You are right. The Nano should get props for having awesome mileage. And it IS better than the alternatives you mentioned.

But it's a gas car. That's not just bad ideologically, but practically. Forgetting GHG impact, do you really want to get India's rising middle class hooked on gas?

Electric cars require more than just charging at home. They require charging all around, as planned by companies like Better Place, Coulomb, etc.

And as for the biofuel, I'm talking biofuel 2.0 - the kind you don't make out of food, the kind you make out of jatropha, wood chips, and other things that would otherwise go to waste
Good vs. Sufficient
written by Ryan Baker, May 07, 2009
No, I don't think electric cars "require" those things. I think they are great ideas, and it may be critical to getting things going in the states, but I'm not sure the standards are as high in India when it comes to issues of convenience.

On the other note.. maybe.. but that is some pretty heavy duty infrastructure of it's own. I'd certainly recommend investing in electric cars and infrastructure over bio fuel. Bio fuel only makes sense to me as a way to reuse existing infrastructure, of which India has some, but wants much much more than they have. In other words in 10 years the majority of India's infrastructure will be new no matter what path they take.
Air car
written by David, May 08, 2009
I want the car that Tata is going to produce that runs on compressed air. So far, it will only be available in India.
written by Vineet, May 14, 2009
Hang on, why all the demands for an Air Car? Why would that be any better than an electric vehicle? At least in a place like India, the infrastructure for charging electric vehicles exists, though it is of course grossly inadequate. An air car? Where would the basic infrastructure come from?
registered nurse
written by NORA EARHART RN, May 14, 2009
how can I get on the list for a Nano?
written by Fred, June 23, 2009
How adorable! Great car. That needs to be decked out!
Good car
written by amit, November 28, 2009
I have driven this car..This car is rally good.IT is worth the money, also mileage is too good. Ideal for city driving. This car will realy bring revolution in India.

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