Thursday, January 10, 2008

Next-Gen Beetle - Tata Nano

This little car has the potential of transforming the face of the world. One of the largest Indian companies, Tata Group, has today unveiled, what it calls: The People's Car. It is a that is priced at Rs 100,000, which is about RM 8,000! This car could just be the Beetle of the 21st century.

Here are some of it's most impressive specs, gleaned from various sources:

  • Specialty bodywork
    The Nano comes with a 100% rust free money back guarantee. The specialised body work is made from the latest polymer technology with a specialised rust free coating. Unlike the fruity Nano, you will never need to rush out for a can of WD40 when your neighbourhood kids decide to scratch up your paint job. Experience peace of mind, parking your Nano in any neighbourhood.
  • Air conditioning
    The standard model comes built-in with natural air conditioning. There is a more expensive deluxe model that comes with artificial air conditioning. Why settle for the fake thing when you can have the original. There is no better feeling than cruising down the highway with the wind in your hair while enjoying all the natural scents that nature has to offer.
  • Power steering
    Surprisingly, for a car of it's size, it comes standard with human power steering. This makes the car extremely responsive and gives the driver total control over the car. Feel like a man, when nipping around the bends in the city. Side parking will never feel the same ever again.
  • Power windows
    All models of the Tata Nano come standard with hand powered windows. This features a variable speed setting and full directional and level control. No longer will you have to contend with the auto-lower or jerky-raise. You will be able to raise or lower the windows smoothly, over the entire range.
  • Safety bumpers
    Who needs air bags when you have safety bumpers. The bumpers have been welded on with the best plastic adhesive on the market. Fender benders will be a thing of the past. Instead of crumpling in, the bumpers are designed to fall off. You can easily reattach it back with any off-the-shelf plastic glue, thus saving you a visit to the local mechanic.
  • Speedy engines
    At the heart of this car is a 600cc engine. This has been specially engineered to give you a speedy experience of scooting down to the local kedai runcit for your groceries or your local mamak for a game of football. With an impressive top speed of 110kmph, you will never ever have to worry about speed cameras ever again.
Jokes aside, I do think that this is a fairly impressive car, for it's cost. You cannot possibly find any other car at that price. In fact, the only other road vehicles that you can find at that price range are motor cycles. So, I can appreciate the kind of difficult choices some people will be faced with, when buying their next family vehicle. I guess, the days of seeing families of 7 on a honda-cub are numbered.

There are definitely other uses for this car, besides just being a plain car. It is cheap enough to wreck for fun. I'm sure that some Bollywood director is already thinking about a remake of The Italian Job, The Indian Job. Instead of Charlize Theron, we can have Aishwarya Rai. I'd certainly pay money to watch the movie.

Also, I can already imagine DIY modders dreaming up ideas on how to pimp this little car. Obviously, the bodywork needs a lot more attitude. And for a car like this, the sky is really the limit. Just like the Asus Eee PC ($299 notebook PC), it's only a matter of time before we will see people buying this car just to modify it into their own super machine. I'd certainly do it.

It would be a great car for mechanics and vocational training. You can just screw around with this car and not worry about destroying it. I love the idea of owning one of these things and fiddling around with all it's little parts.

I cannot wait till they review this car on TopGear. Meanwhile, watch their previous review of Britain's cheapest new car below:


Gabriel Wu said...

yeah i wonder if it will be fuel friendly too... with oil prices going through the roof, the days of the 2k cc luxury cars may be numbered. And it's good for travelling round small cities like Singapore.

Shawn Tan said...

well, with it's extremely small engine and light weight (mostly plastic), i will assume that it'll be fuel efficient.. yes, i'll probably be good for scooting around small cities.. you won't need anything more than 70kmph for city driving anyway..

Alev said...

Whatever you stand for, you need a pat on the back for coming out with such nicely concealed jealousy.

Car isn't made in plastic neither is it 'mostly plastic' as you make it out to be. It uses the very same technology with which you build rockets and hurl at Iraq, Afghanistan or Kosovo.
Read here if you are not the chauvinistic pig that I think you are.

Shawn Tan said...

good that you enjoyed the read.. it took me a long time to write it up.. nobody else seemed to appreciate it..

as for the plastic, the wikipedia page (now much updated) doesn't say anything about what it's made of.. i got the plastic info from the Beebs.

as for being "chauvinist", nah, I'm not one.. neither am i a pig..

Alev said...

Great. I must appreciate you for coming up with innovative answers.
Look back up the Beebs again, see what it says. I don't have objection to your twisting the facts and trying to make a living out of it. But at least destroy evidences that contradict you.


Shawn Tan said...

Hi Alev, could you point out where I went wrong? When I was writing the blog, the best info that I got was from the Beebs. I don't see how it contradicts what I said.

Plus, there's nothing wrong building a car bodywork with polymers. Seriously. More and more applications are found for polymers everyday. They're even using it to build transistors. Could you tell me why you're being so picky about it?

You need to relax, take a deep breath and smile.

PS: It's so friggin' obvious that I'm not making a living out of this blog. Just look at my reader numbers.

Alev said...

Of course here is nothing wrong with any material for cars as long as they all conform to standards or exceed them. I am an advocate of truth and an auto mobile engineer next. Beebs doesn't say or sound like the whole body (100%) is built in plastic. Refer back to its illustration.

Point 2. Polymer belongs to the family of plastics just like steel belongs to the family of metals where you have softest metals like sodium (softer than soap) and flowing metals like mercury.

When you say plastic, even in a casual tone, it doesn't create an impression of a hard material. Leave it aside, you have crossed the boundaries by trying to sound as if the whole body is built in plastic and that, rather sarcastically, is unsafe.

If the same polymer can go fine for space vehicles that undergo over 100 times harsher mechanical stresses of every kind, it can also do some justice to this lesser vehicle which, even on impact experiences smaller stress.

I can go on like this...
There is no power steering...
Yes, you don't have it on motor bikes too. This is a car for those who could afford a motor bike only. What they expect is safety and protection from rain and shine.

Let's be frank, this is not a wonder car but nor was the one Henry built in 1895, too. This is for the poor who can't afford bigger and BETTER cars which are hijacked by those who are not poor.

Alev said...

You may use these links to know more.
I have done it only partly till now.

Shawn Tan said...

Hi Alev,

I visited the links you gave me, but they don't say anything about the bodywork. Anyway, I know now why this discussion is going on.

From your point 2, it's obvious that you assumed that I equated polymers = soft and metals = hard. I did not do that. As an engineer myself, I know better than to make assumptions like that. Materials play an important role but equally important is how the material is structured and constructed. Like you said, polymers can be used on space vehicles too, case in point.

Then, when you read bodywork you probably assumed again that I meant the entire body. I was very careful in only saying bodywork. It made sense to me that the frame was made of metal but the bodywork is made of plastic. That would be good for fuel efficiency and cost. If they aren't already doing this, they should probably consider doing it.

Whether other normal people make assumptions on whether it's hard or soft, or whether bodywork means the whole car body, is their problem, not mine. I merely tried to make all the potential negatives sound as positive as I could make it. Yes, you could drone on like you did about the various features, but you do agree that mine sounds good and would make a more interesting read.

Nobody is under any delusion that it's a luxury car, it's fairly obvious it isn't. As I'd mentioned in my blog, it's competing with motorcycles and taking families off them and into cars.

Sigh, anyway. I stand by my blog. It was meant to turn the weaknesses of the car into strengths. I wasn't trying to put down the car. If you cannot see that, I'd suggest that you go find a sense of humour. Smile a bit more.

Alev said...

Ok, I can see a lot of changes in your tone now. The BBC link and its illustration is explicit in saying how much is plastic and the ENTIRE BODY IS BUILT IN METAL.

Point 2. Having metal framework and the shell in plastic will let the vehicle fail crash test for side impact. You know an engineer can easily see piercing objects through plastic shell and metal frame combination.

Yes, what people presume the car to be actually is, is their problem just as five blind people can feel and assume an elephant to be different things.

However, what I appreciated in your reply is your spirit to "turn the weaknesses of the car into strengths".

Take it easy; a spade is always a spade, and this is just a bare bones car; no less or no more.