Tata Motors is doing everything it can to save the Nano hatchback – the brainchild of Ratan Tata. The latest in this direction is an electric version of the car, which has been secretly being tested at Coimbatore. Sources reveal that the road-tests of the electric version of the Nano have been successful. The Nano EV will use lithium-ion batteries, and is said to be rival the Mahindra E2O, the only electric hatchback sold in India currently.
Will going electric finally save the Nano?
The Nano project has been a big loss-maker for Tata Motors, with many wanting to shut the car down. Why, even ex-Tata MD Cyrus Mistry wanted the car project to be shut down. Though a very practical and affordable car, the Nano has never really sold in good numbers as the perception of it being the ‘cheapest car’ money can buy in India has worked against it. Buyers are now very image-conscious.
The electric car is said to be the next big thing in the automobile industry with almost every big player making plans to get into this segment. Even the Indian government is putting its weight behind electric cars, as a means to curb dependence on fossil fuels, and reduce pollution levels.
Tata Motors could re-position the Nano as an affordable electric vehicle for city streets, breathing life into the fast fading Nano brand. Coming to think of it, the Nano has everything that an ideal electric car for the city should have. It’s light, nimble, compact and built on an affordable platform.
If Tata Motors can get the pricing right (read a price of 3-4 lakh rupees), an electric version of the Nano may just turn around the fortunes of the small car. For now though, Tata is yet to indicate when the Nano EV will hit roads in India, and at what price point.