Economy

How green is the Nano car?

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SmartCompany reported last week on the Tata company’s new Nano car – a cheap auto designed to be affordable to the burgeoning lower middle class of India and South East Asia.

Tata claimed in its launch that the Nano would be more environmentally friendly than most of the motorbikes that many people in Asia currently rely on to get around. But does the science back up the company’s claims?

According to New Scientist, the report card is mixed. The Nano does comply with European exhaust emissions standards, although they don’t take into account greenhouse gas emissions. Because the European standards are stricter than those that apply to motorbikes in India, it appears Tata is quite right to point to the cleaner emissions its car will produce.

But when it comes to fuel efficiency the Nano doesn’t do so well. The Nano travels 21 kilometres per litre of fuel compared to up to 80km per litre most motorbikes could manage, resulting in a bigger petrol bill for the owner and more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But then if you can fit more people into the car than you can on the back of a motorbike, perhaps the Nano would still come out ahead.

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