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India needs Tata Prius and not Tata Nano

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Toyota Prius uses the energy produced from braking and tries to replenish it for running the car. It also uses the kinetic energy produced from the spinning of wheels on a downhill to replenish some of the energy required to run the car. This would reduce the amount of energy (fossil fuel) needed to run the car. This car is best suited for city conditions. This was designed for US market.

Now, imagine the car in India.

I would say the car would never use the petrol in the tank. Any guesses why? In Indian cities you don’t do anything else other than hitting on the brake pedal. That is a lot of energy to run a car. So Isn’t Prius the better-suited car for India than Nano?

India needs a Prius or a Prius++, not Nano !

Nano would be an environmental disaster. It would clog the roads, the atmosphere and ultimately the lungs of little ones. Funny thing is Tata is doing the Indian society a great service by commoditizing the car market. Though they are running into loses already because of the Singur issue and the new plant to be set-up.

Some would argue this as Tata’ Corporate Social Responsibility. I would say it is irresponsible on Tata’s part to mass-produce a car, which is dependent on fossil fuels. Instead Tata would have vested their energies on building a hybrid or an electric car. I would have bought it even the price little expensive. Tata has done with Indica. What is the point of doing the same thing again? Sure there is engineering involved and stuff but what problem does Nano really solve. Nothing. It adds to the problems.

Car is available for a cheap price, credit is easily available and bingo you have a killer combination for growth. Explosive growth. What about the environment? Don’t give me a classic answer of ‘we are clogging already clogged roads’. Why are you helping the cause of environmental degradation by making the cars cheaper? As a business strategy that works. But as a socially responsible corporation like Tata that is not what we expect.

Make us a different kind of promise Mr.Tata – Promise us that you will bring a car, which uses less fossil fuel and mostly renews itself. That to me would be a promise 1.2 billion population is waiting for.

Honda is planning for a hybrid motorcycle. Now we are talking.

The name would still be Tata Nano, except that it runs on a different technology and uses very little petrol (like a nano). That would be the people’s car. Singur stand-off is a blessing in disguise. If the Nano never comes out and instead Tata decides to work on a Prius like model, this world would thank Mamatha Benarjee profusely :)

  1. Tata Electric cars says

    We don’t need no Hybrids, we need ELECTRIC cars based which runs on no fuel at all, and TATA is already working on in which works on COMPRESSED AIR TECHNOLOGY.

    Way to go Tata!

  2. Rahul says

    Western countries have a way of imposing their ideas on small economies like India. Tata Nano has been the most wonderful car to come out of India. It was designed and built in India, but promises more fuel efficiency than any hybrid car sold in Europe or United States. There is no comparison between Tata Nano and Toyota Prius, because Nano is a better product in all criteria.

    Rahul

    Indian Car Advisor (Carazoo.com)

  3. Ankit says

    The Humourous angle for India’s braking hasn been taking too well i guess by the readers.
    But yes,NANO has created a paradigm shift with its unveiling.
    The market looks at the people using a product and improve it.
    What tata has done with NANO is make a product in a segment for the non-users.The product is aimed at consumers who have never used a car
    and this is marketing trait worth appluading.lets give it to him for that

  4. Sriram Vadlamani says

    Anmol, did you just blew me off? I think you did. Great comment. I really appreciate it.

    My argument in the post is simple. Without talking about the specifics I am asking Tata to build a better car which does not depend heavily on fossil fuels. It really doesn’t matter whether its a hybrid or a electric car or a air car. Comparision with Prius is just figure of speech. So is Tata Prius.

    Tata nano sounds like it should have been launched 3-4 years ago. The time has passed. India needs something better. Tata’s ingenuity can do that. So why invest on something which is atleast 3 years behind the market, instead of investing in the future?

    If there is one corporation who can do it, then its Tata. As I have mentioned Tata might be running into loses already. So its more of a corporate social responsibility on Tata’s part, because of the promise Ratan Tata has made. I think the social responsibility is misdirected. Instead of mass producing a car which occupies a surface area like any other car, but coming at a price of 2-wheeler, adds to the congestion and of course the environemnt, why not make it a better car which is environmental friendly and a bit expensive.

    Sure the price would come down if economies of scale works. If it is going to take 2 more years then its fine. Indian car market is already flooded with all types of cars. This is a car India can wait.

  5. Chirag says

    Amazing comment Anmol. Same feelings were going through my mind when i read the blog. Mr. Author, if you don’t believe what Anmol has said, read the article in Business Standard, 4th April, headlined ‘Worldwatch throws its weight behind Nano’.
    And its good to see everyone writing about hybrid cars. Has anyone though where does electricity come from? Sure a hybrid uses 1/4th or even less of petrol but isnt it using an equivalent form of energy in some other form? With Industrially advanced states like Maharashtra facing major electricity crisis and adding on to it with hybrid vehicles is a good idea?
    Wow i seem to sound like an anti-motorist which by far I am not. Just a few thoughts that came to my mind.

  6. Yogen says

    The fellow writting aganist TATA NANO doesnot seem to be updated with tata’s new innovative car based on “CAT” (Compressed Air Technology).
    MY Friend this car made by TATA donot require any fossil fuel & runs on air compressor.SO Not pollution.
    COST OF THIS CAR??? 3.5LACS ON STREETS…LAUNCHING???? SEPT 2009 FINE ????
    As of now there is nobody to beat the TATA’s world wide ! ! !

  7. Xebra says

    I tend to agree with the commentator here, we dont really need more hybrids in the world, but more pure electrics, which run on electricity and use no fossil fuel. I was interested to read about Tata coming out with an electric Indica, which would be a great development.

  8. Sumedh says

    Hi Amol…

    You should also put your comment on Sramana’s blog… :)

  9. Sumedh says

    We need a Nano with a clean, hybrid engine…

    And I am sure Ratan Tata is already thinking about it… :)

  10. sunny saha says

    hats off to Anmol Chaturvedi

    great going dude

  11. Anmol Chaturvedi says

    India needs what India can afford.
    And India can afford Nano. A no frills car.
    Prius that you are proposing, even the most richest Indians don’t buy.

    Regenerative Braking Generator, Batteries, Computer System,THS inverter unit, Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) with Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD),electric motor,Hybrid Synergy Drive.

    All these ^ parts are required for a hybrid. Do you know how much all these parts cost ?

    A fully loaded prius costs around $28,500 which in rupees is 1282500.

    Around 12 Nanos can be bought for the cost of one Prius.

    Both Nano and Prius can carry 4 people.

    So for 12 lakh with one Prius we can provide transport for 4 people. Which is 300,000 rupees per person
    With Nano for 12 lakh we can provide transport for 48 people. Which is 25,000 rupees per person.

    So India with its half of world poorest population, 85% spending less than 20 rupees a day should dream about Prius ? And Condemn Nano ?

    Why ? Why is Prius so “clean” and Nano so “dirty” ?

    Nano being a simple vehicle needs less material and production, therefore it is indirectly producing less greenhouse gasses while it is under production.

    Prius with its expensive parts and Batteries and Large Combustion engine, is for too dirty. It will produce more green house gasses while under production.

    Do you think that battery is clean ? Once it will run out it will be thrown out of car. And it will pollute the environment. Its consequences will be far worse specially for India and other poorer nations where these harmful things are “Recycled”. Poor people to feed themselves open up Batteries to sell chemicals inside. In process giving that poor person cancer and other diseases.

    So what do we get by using these things ? You think it is cleaner vehicle ?

    Prius can travel 100 km in 5.74 Liters of petrol.
    Nano can travel 100 km in 4.55 Liters of petrol.

    So which one is better ? Cleaner ? Less Evil ? Less Dirty ? And who fell prey to chauvinistic western arm chair environmentalists ?

    This is the mileage of Petrol version, you may or may not know but Tata will Launch their Diesel Nano in September 2009.

    Diesel Nano will have worlds smallest diesel engine, and diesel engine being far more fuel efficient Nano Diesel will have amazingly fuel efficient.

    Its ~600cc engine is essentially half the block of a Tata Indica engine.
    Which means it will have twice more fuel efficient.
    Tata Indica does 18 kmpl, so Tata Nano would do around 36 kmpl.

    But keep in mind Indica is a very heavy vehicle, and Nano is quite a lightweight one.
    Therefore Nano Diesel may be even more fuel efficient.

    So for 12 lakh Prius will do 100 km in 5.74 Liters of petrol.
    For 1 lakh Nano Petrol will do 100 km in 4.55 Liters of petrol.
    And for 2 lakh Nano Diesel will do 100 km in 2.77 Liters of petrol.

    Again who fell prey to chauvinistic western arm chair environmentalists ?

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