Thursday, January 10, 2008

India's Volks-Nano

India's Tata Group just presented its smallest and cheapest new vehicle: the "Tata Nano." The Nano is 3.10 meters long, 1.50 meters wide, and 1.60 meters high. With these dimensions, it is literally a dwarf, compared to many U.S. cars. The GMC Yukon XL, for instance, is 5.64 meters long, 2,01 meters wide, and 1.95 meters high. But at least the Yukon comes in a hybrid version ... which gets 20 miles per Gallon on the highway. The non-hybrid Nano, of course, gets 47 miles per Gallon (or 5l/100km), about the same as the Prius.

This from Tata Group's press release:
The launch of the People's Car by Tata Motors is a defining moment in the history of India's automotive industry. For Tata Motors, the car — christened the Nano, because it is a small car with high technology — is the next big step in a journey that began with the Indica. For the Tata Group, it is the realisation of a pioneering vision to create a breakthrough product globally that rewrites the rules of the small-car business.

(Click here for the full release.)
The manufacturer's description of the Nano as "The People's Car," of course, brings to mind some unfortunate comparisons to Adolf Hitler 's idea of a "Volkswagen." Many climate scientists, however, are less disturbed about the label, and much more about the environmental impacts of potentially turning India into a gigantic version of Los Angeles:
While the price has created a buzz, critics say the vehicle ... will lead to possibly millions more cars hitting already clogged Indian roads, adding to mounting air and noise pollution problems. ... Chief U.N. climate scientist Rajendra Pachauri, who shared last year's Nobel Peace Prize, said last month that "I am having nightmares" about the prospect of the low-cost car.

(Click here for the full AP story.)


Mich said...

Dietram, You see this?-- (CNET) An opposition group in India burns the $2,500 "people's car" in effigy, charging that Tata Motors usurped farmers' lands for a factory.


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