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India needs Tata Prius and not Tata Nano

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 :)

Sriram Vadlamani :Sriram Vadlamani is the Editor and co-founder of The Gadget Fan and a columnist at Asian Correspondent. You can follow him on twitter @6sv