Today, the first customer to get a Tata Nano will take delivery of the world’s cheapest car, at $2,053 – and right on schedule. Tata had announced the first deliveries would be in July of 2009 when orders were first taken earlier this year.
For a gasoline car; the Nano has astounding mileage ; 56 mpg while producing emissions of just 101 grams of CO2 per km, lower than even European requirements, forget about the U.S. (We have none: the sky’s the limit – literally)
Even more surprising, just old fashioned simple tech makes this price and mileage possible:
While many industrial designers fall over themselves to create more and more uselessly elaborate products, the Nano is based on the simple ways. It’s almost like a car the 19th century Quakers might build:
It uses some pretty lean design principles. You roll down your own windows. You do without a trunk door. For those who can’t imagine how that is done; you open the back door and lean in with your groceries, pulling the back seat forward and placing the groceries behind it.
Ratan Tata points out none of the fuel saving technologies are revolutionary or represent earth-shaking technology. He said most relate to rather mundane items such as the two-cylinder engine’s balance shaft, and how the gears were cut in the transmission. Embodying a “contrarian philosophy of smaller, lighter, cheaper” the Nano weighs only 1,300 lbs, and gets by on the amount of horsepower needed to move 4 people and no more. Revolutionary.
Ratan Tata has gone back to the visionary example of Henry Ford who wanted to make a car affordable on the salaries that people actually made.
As we in the first world all gravitate down to a low third world income standard, Ford’s idea is more salient than ever.
Ford’s Model T debuted in 1908, well before banks figured out how to fleece wannabe-consumers with usurious credit in order to even afford the technology they built. Nano brings us back to Pay As You Go prices for transportation.
Photo by Shrawan Raja for India’s Autoblog
Via Autoblog Green