Monday, May 28, 2007

Small Car for the masses

I wonder will I be able to see small and affordable cars on the road some day. But till then I have to content my eyes with presently available lot.

My daily commute to office from home takes around 10 minutes on a bike, a better option than public transport, but at the expense of riding in rain, inhaling toxic fumes. A still better option is to travel by car. But the present cars are neither affordable to my pocket nor drivable in traffic.

The cars available are costly, technically complex, give less average (by generating more power for fancied few) and occupy more road space. Even the cheapest car costs around Rupees 2 Lakhs making it beyond the reach of common man. Even tough the economy is booming only few can afford them. Increase in fuel prices further add to the woe (I will be happy to reduce the burden of my fuel bills which drain my financial resources.)

Me think a small car made out of 3-wheel auto parts making it a cheaper, low on maintenance and frugal on fuel will be a good point to start. A three-wheeler will further benefit from the tax exempt. But it will also be easy for the fairer sex to zip around town.

As for the load carrying forget it, a common seen being, three-wheeled auto pulling easily a load of 6 adults while giving decent economy.

The biggest disadvantages of three wheeler being their stability which varies with weight distribution. A clever design can over come this and bring it close to that of four wheeler.

During the World War II shortage of fuel led to the evolution of these small cars with motorbike engines making them cheap and affordable. But as the crisis went by these cars also diminished (remember the ISETTA and the MESSERSCHMITT) giving way to bigger cars. Though these cars are still produced in few countries which also do not require registration and license to drive. (oh France a beautiful country)

Many attempts by manufacturers and individuals alike were made but failed. Swatch mobile a car made in similar direction is on the verge of dying. Further this being costly does not hold true in Indian context.

A dedicated effort is required to bring this into reality. Many manufacturers have now realized the potential and are working on “car for masses”.

In past a three-wheeler car named BADAL was made by Sipani motors which was a complete failure, a similar project by leading manufacturer of three-wheelers BAJAJ Auto Limited was also buried down.

This dream of small cars was realized by KINETIC Engineering Limited but their project also could not see the light of day. One successful attempt is by the Reva electric car which is cheap to run but is costly while being technically complex.

But relief is on way for those who travel from point A to point B. and in a big way with the likes of TATA, BAJAJ and many more (TVS motors showed a hybrid three wheeler concept at 2002 Auto Expo)

And if we are going by the words of these manufacturers we will have a “common man car” at a price as low as ONE Lakhs (I still could not believe it).

The norms for these cars (preferably of four wheeled kind termed as “Quadra cycles”) are yet to be finalized, which will enable them a subsidy similar to three-wheelers making the whole package more attractive both for manufacturer and buyer.

All this seems to be a step in right direction enabling many households to fancy of owing a car. But till then I wonder……………..

Hey guys this was written one and a half year ago and still no signs of One Lakh car. Bye the way in anticipation I have saved enough money that I can buy a decent ‘B’ segment car (who needs them)

Well all may not be lucky to work for number 1 in its field MNC and earn in 6 digit figures.

By the way my project at my engineering levels were on similar lines. Will talk of them in detail later.

Me Myself

At the wee hours 4 ‘O’ clock to be exact with sleep miles away I am thrilled by the prospect of jotting down my thoughts and what better than Automobiles the first love of my life. I had this in my mind from a long long ago but other commitments kept it away!

But not for so long and here I am writing a piece on Automobiles. Well you may call me mad and yes I am cause I talk, I walk, I eat, I sleep Automobiles. Its no surprise that my room is filled of things Automotive.

And the first thing that catches any Automotive lover is Vintage and Classic and true in my case also. I have known many of them, drove some of them and owned one.

Nothing is as prideful as owning these cars, ask people who have a dozen of them and you will know what a joy it is.

My association with them goes back to my forming years when I was given car toys just like any other kid and this thing was to stay for ever. Even before people know of ‘Pythagoras Theorem’ I had decided to be an Automotive Engineer and here I am after 20 years or so, going to be a Automotive Masters degree holder.

How it feels, on top of the world, insane, well you have to live it to believe it. But then every one’s not lucky and neither was I. My plate was never filled, though my dreams were. I think the more twisted your journey is the more it becomes easy later. (You must be thinking where are the cars I ought to be talking about).

Bye the way its 6 ‘O’ clock in the morning, I can hear the birds singing and its time for my daily exercise regime to keep me fit for the day (today might be different).

As for the cars, I will write a separate piece on the car that I owned. When that’s the Big question. Till then bye.