Tato Nano Debut04.1.09   |   Posted in: Tech   |   By: Kellis Landrum
Tags: Alternative Transport, Automotive, Green Design, Industrial Design, Nano, Tata
You may have remembered last year when we wrote about Tata motors showing the $2,500 Nano hailed as the new car of the people. Tata has just announced that the production version of the Nano will be available for purchase in India April 9, 2009 and has been squeezed even further down to a base price of $2,000.
What do we like about the Nano? We think that the most impressive feature (aside from the rock bottom price) is that it gets a reported 50 mpg. While this is not a hybrid engine, if it consumes less gas and emits less pollution we’re all for it. On top of that, the Nano is barely 10 feet long, which has distinct advantages when trying to park in a crowded urban area like Los Angeles.
The downside of course is, the Nano is a funny looking little car with tiny rollerskate like wheels. The top speed on the Nano is 65 mph, which means your going to get honked at even in the slow lane. There’s the obvious safety concerns that a small car has over getting hit by a large truck, but millions of Prius drivers seem safe enough so far.
The Tata Nano will be released in it’s home country of India first and is expected to do very well by Indian standards. We respect the concept as your faithful Editor-In-Chief’s first car was a ’73 VW Beetle which served millions of people around the world well for many decades. We think in fact, that the destruction of the the US auto industry has had a lot to do with building cars that are often half the price of the owners pretax income, became increasing difficult for the average owner to fix without expensive computer based tools, and broke down more and more frequently. It’s one thing if your car is cheap and when it breaks down you can fix it yourself (which we often did with the VW with $50 and some duct tape). It’s another when it’s a $20-$40K item that breaks down and you have to shell out another $500-$1000 every time it breaks down, which happens every 4-6 months.
We think the Nano might be a viable answer for Angeleno’s who commute an hour or more each way in traffic that rarely moves faster than 40 mph (though we’d feel better if the top speed got raised to 80 mph). While we don’t think we’d want this as our primary vehicle, this might make an excellent commuter car in addition to a bigger car or truck. With a $2,000 price tag the gas we save alone might justify the cost.