Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on February 10, 2008
One of the most tragic outcomes of globalization is that currently-developing countries like India are adopting America’s love of the gas powered automobile and the independence associated with it. These countries are finding ways to replace current mass and people-powered transit with individual, motorized movement, just like the U.S. did in the early 20th Century. Have they learned nothing from our mistakes?
Enter the Tata Nano, India’s folks-wagon. Tato engineers dispensed with everything that makes a car a car in the U.S. — like a radio, air-conditioning, safety and at least four cylinders — in its pursuit of lowering costs as far as possible. But don’t look for this little car in the U.S. anytime soon. The Nano will not meet most pollution standards and it simply cannot pass safety tests.
The Nano runs on a 2-cylinder, .06-liter engine that tops out at 60 mph and gets 50 mpg. The fuel efficiency might get you excited, but consider this: India’s population stands at just over 1.1 billion souls and counting. If even half of those people start driving, it would amount to nearly twice as many cars as there are in the U.S. – hello, environmental catastrophe. This will ensure that by 2020, there will be over a billion oil dependent, air polluting cars on the planet.
Not to mention that roads in India are nearly in constant gridlock as it is.
For these reasons and more we must all ask the same question Tato’s engineers asked while designing the Nano: Do we really need that?
Not if it’s going to bring about the end of the world, we don’t.