February 26, 2008 Little over a month after India's Tata Motor Company announced its 100,000 rupee (US$2500) NANO, reports have emerged that the mantle of the world's cheapest new car will pass to the Tara Tiny, a battery operated four-seater that's been sneakily priced at just 1 rupee below the NANO.
Rechargeable via a 220 volt, 15 amp socket, the Tiny is expected to achieve speeds of between 31 mph (50kmh) and 43 mph (70 kmh) top speed with a range of around 62 miles (100 km) and along with the attractive shelf price, running costs for the EV will be very low at approximately one-fifth to one-tenth the cost of using gas or 50-70 paise for every km (that converts to somewhere between 1 and 2 US cents!).
Tara International is collaborating with China’s Aucma on the project that will see production models appear sometime later this year. A 14-seater electric bus is already in the pipeline and the company also has plans to release battery-operated two-wheelers along with three other four wheel EVs labeled Tara Titu, Tara Micro and Tara Mini.
A target output of around 1,000 cars, 5,000 two-wheelers and 500 buses/lorries has been slated for the first year.
Regardless of the "price war", the announcement of both vehicles highlights a new era in the auto market led by innovative Indian manufacturers looking to dramatically expand access to low cost transportation.