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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