Tata, please say no to petrol

We cant really do that right now – saying no to petrol – but we should appreciate any effort made in that direction. And denounce projects that will make us drink more petrol.

Ace motors is launching battery powered bikes. Good idea!. I hope people will see some value in bikes that cost as much as Rs 26K (I do have doubts). Full charge of battery takes 7 hours, to give you a range of 70 km. And top speed is 25 kmph. Essentially, 7 hours of rest, to make it run for 3 hours (70 km divided by 25 kmph). Regardless, the effort should be appreciated.

On the other hand, we have Tata aggressively pursuing a small car that it plans to sell for Rs 1 lakh (around US $ 2200)! When I heard this first, I assumed it will be a battery driven car, but apparenty not, its going to be a petrol/LPG hybrid or diesel. Tata expects to sell a million of these in the first year which will be 2008-2009 !

Reva, the battery driven car hasn't done too well in spite of low running costs on offer (Rupee 0.40 per km!). Reva takes 6 hours to charge and gives you a range of 80km per charge. Similar numbers as the newly announced bikes. If the range gets to be a bit better, Reva could be a nice city or second car.

RevaI do hope the battery powered products mature and catch attention of the market soon. But I am disappointed to see no government backing or publicity to lure people away from petrol. Why aren't we pushing Honda and Toyota to introduce hybrids in India? Why isn't Reva or battery powered bike getting bigger subsidies or tax breaks? Rs 2 lakhs and 26 K sound steep for vehicles that will die every 70-80 kilometers. Why is no public money being spent on furthering research on alternative energy sources?

Instead, we have various state governments wooing and encouraging TATA for its much hyped Rs 1 lakh (= US $ 2200) car project. Why is Tata hell bent on producing a mass market car driven on petrol. Why not an electric car Mr Ratan Tata? Where is your hybrid Indica? Where is your hybrid or battery powered bus our city transport systems so badly need?

I wonder if likes of Chevron and Shell are the real backers of TATA's small car project.

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6 Responses

  1. […] Don't kill me for sounding too negative about Tata and government's alternative energy efforts. […]

  2. […] Why is such research not happening in India? We need to cut our reliance (pun inteded) on oil. And we need to do it fast, before our network of expressways and Rs 1-lakh TATA cars come along. There needs to be an “energy research” cess on sale of petrol and diesel, and the resultant fund should try do what Tesla claims to have done. […]

  3. It is written above, ‘We cant really do that right now – saying no to petrol – but we should appreciate any effort made in that direction. And denounce projects that will make us drink more petrol.’

    Comments : What appreciation can be expected & from whom, even if this project is accomplished & what can be expected in
    return. Even after tapping into this wisdom, it is difficult to see any doors open.

  4. Sushil, when you say “this project is accomplished”, do you mean a ‘non-fossil fuel 1 lakh-car getting designed”? I didn’t get your “who will appreciate” part either, but let me restate things again.

    A car for Rs 1 lakh could substantially increase the size of our car market. With that, our energy bill (since we will have to import more oil) will climb too. Why don’t we hear about R&D spending at Tata (or even Hyundai India, Honda India) to think of bio-diesel, ethanol-85, hydrogen fuel-cell, or even gasoline-electric hybrid technologies? Our government could subsidize these efforts. Heard of Honda “FCX”? Our country has the (potential) market-size to influence development of technologies like these.

    If you think in only the conventional ways, doors will always appear closed. And which buyer will not appreciate a car that costs 1 Rupee per Km to run? Which citizen will not appreciate a car that emits water instead of soot?

    We have the advantage of having a ‘nascent’ undeveloped market. That gives us the luxury of choosing they way we want to develop our energy and transportation markets. There is room for innovation provided we have the time and wisdom for it.

  5. […] Finally! I am so glad to see someone agree with me on the subject. I dont know if the author read this note I posted here 5 months ago (Tata, please say not to Petrol). I dont care, and want to thank him, for now I know there is a good chance that people will start looking at TATA’s project from energy perspective. […]

  6. 1 lakh rupee car should be accepted if it is not look lie a toy.i mean it should not be like “reva”.it should be like ordinary carin look.if this is possibe than peopla accept it.hope fpr the best.

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