Electric Tara Tiny Becomes World’s Cheapest Car

With all the news recently surrounding the company Tata International and its Tara Nano, the world’s cheapest car, it is a bit shocking to see an even cheaper car coming out so soon, but the Tiny is coming. What’s even more surprising is that the Tara vehicles will be all electric and focused on environmental responsibility. The Tara Tiny may show up on the streets of India in June. Manufacturing will be done in partnership with a company from China. It is great to see more good news on the environmental front, with green thinking and sustainability in the driver’s seat!

read more | digg story

Since the main story link is sometimes broken, here is an alternative link about the Tara Tiny and here is one more alternative link. However, the main link goes to gas2.org, which has an excellent story.

Based on a DIGG submission from Benjamin Jones (Gas 2.0).

Note added later: I also want to bring your attention to my republication of this on Gather.com, which ended up provoking some rather contentious discussion and had some very useful links and other information added by Sam Carana in the comments.

Just to be clear, there are small gas-powered cars called Tata Nano, and this article refers to them as well as to the Tara Tiny, which is an extremely small electric car that costs about $2500 US.  Tata International is behind the design and production of these small cars.  The electric car technology used is not new (by a long shot), but the important point, or one of them, is that the technology is actually being used, and used on what we can expect to be a large production scale.  This contrasts with the US, where the fanciest new electric car technologies are available, but production seems limited to boutique manufacturers (not necessarily expensive, but not capable of production that will change the face of transportation in the US).

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  1. Mark

    cheapest Cars, easy on fuels what else can we ask for
    ZAP and other’s are doing great job !

  2. 50 years of ” in ten years or so”!

  3. Sorry but I don’t know what you mean. Electric cars have always been available, in the sense that there were a few around. For well over 50 years. The problem was that nobody wanted to manufacture them, not that they couldn’t make them, and the reasons for that don’t necessarily have anything to do with demand (see “Who Killed the Electric Car”).

    There are many electric cars that you can buy, today, in the US, let alone in India. Tesla, Phoenix and Volt are three US manufacturers, and everything from trucks to sports cars are available. So, there is no wait, at least for some. The only problem I see is that production capacity isn’t very high because, as always, the big American car manufacturers only want to pretend that they are making electric or hybrid cars. I heard on NPR (Marketplace) tonight that Chevrolet was making only 1500 hybrid SUVs available for the whole US (this was for one of two models), but they are getting great PR out of it.

    So, if you want an electric car, you can just go buy one. If we all want them, it is more problematic, but the way to help is to start buying them. Your move…

    Sorry, I don’t mean to be aggressively challenging you- I appreciate the comments- I just don’t think that the story is quite how you paint it, but we don’t have to agree on everything. Sam Carana is someone who has written a lot of very reasonable articles that could bring about massive change if the ideas were implemented. His articles, not all of which are on the environment, are collected at http://www.gather.com/viewArticles.jsp?memberId=217467&nav=Namespace They also detail the history of the electric car and the way that Chevron and car companies have lobbied hard in Washington for a long time to keep these as curiosities. See also http://www.autobloggreen.com/2006/12/07/london-unveils-first-two-free-electric-car-chargers/ for free electricity in London to charge your electric car!

  4. Mark, thanks for the feedback. Jim

  5. truthwalker

    I think the biggest problem facing car builders is that a car like the Tiny could only work in a developing market. When what you have always had before is a Honda Wave than a common-sense car has real appeal. The problem is that as the car works its magic to improve the economy (which it really does) then people are not so happy with a common sense transporter. They want a combination womb/phallus on wheels with DVD player and flat screen. *sigh*

  6. Truthwalker:

    These days, people can have it all, at least when it comes to electric cars. The nearly $100,000 Tesla is available now and is as fast as anything, but is all electric. Trucks area also available from Phoenix Motor Cars, for example, as I mention below (click on the title “Plug-in Hybrid Cars and Electric Vehicles… to go to the article). Thanks for the feedback. Jim

  7. Lime

    I very much want to rid myself, my family, my community and my planet of my 2003 Hyundai parked in the yard. I have been trying in desperation to find a alternative vehicle. ( I live in a city, have two children and a small budget) I need a alternative energy vehicle that can carry four, has weather protection and is under $4000.00.
    The tiny seemed ideal. “Go buy one” someone said however due to confusion and the fact that every penny counts and I can’t take risk, it is not so easy.
    If anyone can suggest the best option or how to purchase a tiny, I would GREATLY be in your service.
    I am a beginner in this area and I am lost.
    Please e-mail me at limeorchid at yahoo. com

  8. Lime:

    I don’t see any evidence that these exact cars will be introduced to a market outside of India. However, maybe we can mount a campaign to encourage the company to introduce versions in the US. They’ll have to meet somewhat different safety standards, etc., but it seems very possible to accomplish this.

    I understand exactly what you mean, and I share your frustration.

    Thanks for the feedback! Jim

  9. Lime

    I talked with a salesperson today and had the following thought.

    As a consumer, here is what I want/need.

    1. Four or more seats.
    2. Electric powered that can go at least 15mph.
    3. Very affordable. (ie: should be about $1000 UDS per seat.)
    4. WEATHER PROTECTION. Not just for passengers but for the driver also!!! (Why in the world would this not be common sense?) I think that having an enclosed area is THE number one reason most of us do not use electric bikes etc.

    So, rather that try to “convince” other manufactures to alter their assembly lines in order to comply with US standards (insane that they are), why not just have a company that makes lightweight shells for weather protection? Either custom or standard.

    There are plenty of EV options in the US, even old pedicabs that you can buy an electric motor for, attach easily etc. There are endless ideas BUT there are NO weather protected affordable things around.

    I live in the southern area of the US and so I can easily bundle the kiddies in blankets and load them into a rickshaw, pedi-cab or such but…I need a windshield, a wiper (powered with a small battery…eh?) I need protection from the rain!! I have two kids and sometimes I have to carry a sick child in the car to take a well one to school. The sick child can’t be in the rain, the well one can’t go to school wet!!!

    Practical thought could go a long way in the US. I wish I knew how to work with fiberglass and build a shell. Still, a standard bike shell for single passenger bikes and a couple of standard shells for electric assist multi- passenger tricycle rides would greatly change everything (IMHO).

    Who needs help the most? People who support children.

    There are few options around for us. An untapped market if you ask me. There are millions of stay at home mom’s who would use EV’s if they were covered and had electric assist. (I commute 28 miles a day taking kids to and from school, I do not want to bike this far every day!! I am an exhausted mother!, 5 miles would be enough.)

    If anyone has an idea of how to make a lightweight hard shell cover for pedicabs or rickshaws or tricycle’s etc. Please let me know!!! You will save the planet 28 miles of gas pollution a day and help feed my kids, who ARE hungry due to the rapid increase in gas cost. (We have cut WAY back on food budget!)

    Just my two cents on a real, immediate, affordable, viable solution. We do not all need $12,000.00 and up “cute” EV’s in order to make a BIG impact on our planet. (Side note, if I had $12k I would buy one of these “cute” EV cars!! No judgement on those who can/do.)

    happy trails to you…

  10. Lime:

    I really appreciate your thoughtful and detailed comments. They make sense to me.

    When I was growing up, there was an engineer who drove around town (in the southwest) in an electric vehicle that I don’t remember terribly well, so I’m not sure if it has two seats or four. This was in the 1960s. It had a cargo area in the back, but I think it was open like a small pickup truck (very small). It was life a golf cart in many ways. I don’t know if he built it, converted it, or what, but it seems to me that someone could easily accommodate your needs based on what I saw on the road with my own eyes so long ago. That doesn’t mean that someone will. But, let me recommend the articles by Sam Carana on electric cars and the comments and links provided by Sam and Steve B. to my articles on the site gather.com. You can find Sam’s articles here, Steve B.’s here, and mine here- also featuring some book reviews and and photos. I’ll go back over them, also. Maybe we can put something together or find something available that would work as of today.

    One of Sam’s comments: ” Note also that it isn’t necessarily the purchase price that makes an electric car cheap. The Nice Mega City is available in the UK from £8,998 plus VAT. It is available with either two or four seats, has a 40 mph top speed and a typical range of up to 40 miles. It comes with two year warranty on labor and parts, including the batteries.

    The website says that the car can save you £7,000 per year. That’s because the MEGA City is exempt from the London congestion charge and exempt from road tax. Road tax is set to increase to £950 in the 2008 budget on the most polluting cars. You can benefit from free parking in many London locations. Driving will cost you about 1.5 pence per mile. The MEGA City can be charged from a domestic socket at home, at work or at any of a growing number of public charge points around London. As a company car, it could be even more attractive financially. As a zero emission vehicle the Mega City allows companies 100% corporation tax write-down in the first year.”

    If we had the kind of tax relief that the UK has for such cars, they might fit your description and cost requirements.

    Best wishes and thanks again for your thoughtful response! Jim

    Sustainability and the environment
    Solar Power lens

  11. Lime

    How can we go about mounting a campaign? Can we mount a revolution at the same time?

    Side note, I noted today that two gas stations I pass on a daily basis were “out” of gas. I guess they don’t have the money to buy more gas either!!! What can we re-purpose old gas stations into when we finally wake up and move to alternative fuel? I like the idea of making them into outside dance clubs, I mean most have rain cover and you could build boxes over old pumps, poles already in place, perfect for dance and outside gathering places. Any other ideas? I like to imagine that the day is coming soon!!!!

    Has anyone seen solar power transport? I am curious. I picked up a couple 12v solar panels on sale at Tractor Supply for 13 bucks each. I am saving them in hope of finding a way to rid myself of even batteries but when it comes to anything electric I am dumb as a doornail. I can do some fine plumbing though…this does not move you very far however!!!

    Smiles to all,


  12. Lime,

    I’m not sure our economy could support two dance clubs on every corner, but I like the idea!

    I wish I knew about plumbing…

    As for solar, actually, yes, in a way. With an electric car, you can definitely charge it off of solar panels. Then, while you are out of the house or all of your batteries are charged up, depending on where you live, you can almost certainly sell clean electricity to the power company from your solar system.

    The same is true for wind power systems.

    If you want to hook up to “the grid” to allow others to use your excess solar/wind power, this has to be done by professionals. I’m an affiliate for go green solar, and they provide competing quotes based on your zip code and information about your house from a network of solar installers.

    Unfortunately, the electric car and the solar panel system are not quite at the price levels you were looking for, but they will probably keep coming down in price.

    Importing one of the European electric cars would probably be simple if it weren’t for Detroit (of course, our military can buy its airplanes from Airbus…, go figure!), but I know lots of people who have imported regular” cars from Europe, so it may not be out of the question.

    I think that we probably need some collectives to get this started, making inexpensive electric cars for city drivers available, etc. Say, like, “Moms from Greenwich Village”, or “Eco-friendly Arbitragers from Manhattan”, who could import 150 cars and share them, maybe selling off a few to “the rest of us”. In fact, I would think that any group could do this. Local Sierra clubs, the World Wildlife Fund, and Environmental defense all have the infrastructure to import and distribute electric cars for individual or collective use, I would think.

    If you click on the link Solar Power lens, there is more information about implementing solar power, along with suggested books on the subject. It is another site I write, but I need to write more about “getting started” when I can find time. You can ask more questions there or here. I’d contact GoGreenSolar.com – #1 online destination for solar panels & wind power for some detailed information on the solar or wind power installations, though note that I can make money from this since I am an affiliate (so far, I have $2.43 in earnings from all of my blogs, literally). I connected with them because I was getting so many questions about how to implement solar power, and they are professionals with information about tax breaks in different states as well as the various approaches you might take.

    Best wishes, Jim

  13. thewebgarden

    Some great comments on the difficulties faced by electric cars becoming mainstream. How much the oil companies have in effect halted progress is worthy of investigation I feel.

    In the UK in the early 80’s we got presented with an electric car, the Sinclair C5, it was treated like a joke, yet 17,000 were made in the first year. The company went bust within the year due to poor sales. At the time the biggest factor, after the British Weather, was the public ridicule it received.

    The most exciting electric car I’ve ever come across is the EV Tango. Still in the ‘pre-mass production phase, making the ‘duluxe’ model to fund the setting up of mass production. Though the luxury model does sport some great features an impressive 150mph top speed, 0-60 in 4 seconds, 130km range, and 80% charge in 10minutes!

  14. Thanks to TheWebGarden for the feedback, comments and links! Best wishes, Jim

  15. Mangala Prasad Roy

    Iam ready to book &buy the four wheeler for my family use if Iget in contact with the dealer.

    • There is an article in a recent National Geographic about a large Tata car plant being built adjacent to the Indian Golden Triangle highway system. I do not know what the production capability is prior to completion of this new factory, but from what I have read, the vehicles should be available now. I’m sorry but I don’t have any information on contacting car dealers in India, but Google searches may provide you with the right contact information. Thanks for your comment (I didn’t want to publish your prior submission because it contained your phone number, which I wasn’t comfortable making public). Best wishes! Jim


    I need to have some more information about Tara Tiny Cars, and the way of buying the car, further details about the car, need to know, where I can buy the car in India (Chennai).

    Joan violet A.

  17. very enjoyable read i have learnt a lot from this post

  18. I consider this specific post , “Electric Tara Tiny
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  1. 1 Plug-in Hybrid Cars and Electric Cars: a Summary « Chemistry for a sustainable world

    […] Don’t forget that purely electric cars and trucks and buses are also available in the US, the UK, and elsewhere. For example, in the US, Tesla Motors, Volt and Phoenix Motor cars offer a range from trucks to sports cars. I wrote a recent, short post on very small and inexpensive electric cars being made for India. […]

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