The Tata Nano, designed to be the world's most affordable car, will be on view at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum from Feb. 18 through April 25, 2010. Unveiled last year in India by Tata Motors, India's largest automobile manufacturer, the Tata Nano is targeted to families who had not previously been able to afford a car. Billed as "the people's car," the base model starts at $2,200 in India and can accommodate up to five adults. A bright, sunshine yellow Nano will be on display in Cooper-Hewitt's Great Hall, along with diagrams and a short film describing its concept, development and production.
The name "Nano" connotes high technology, small size and low price. This ultra-cheap compact car contributes to the world of affordable motoring, and like its predecessors, Henry Ford's Model T, the Volkswagen Beetle, Citroen 2CV and the original Fiat 500, the Tata Nano continues the tradition of inexpensive cars made in large numbers. Conceived by Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group, the Tata Nano is intended as an all-weather form of personal transportation that provides a safer and cleaner alternative to the two-wheelers that are pervasive in India, where often entire families ride clinging to a motorbike or a scooter.
The Nano offers a high fuel efficiency of 50 miles per gallon, making it more fuel efficient and less polluting than all other cars on the road today in India. Designed by a team of 500 Indian engineers, the 35-horsepower, four-door vehicle has been pared down to the essentials: It is about10 feet long, weighs approximately 1,300 pounds, has an all-sheet-metal body, a rear two-cylinder engine, small tubeless tires, a reinforced passenger compartment, crumple zones, seat belts and achieves a top speed of 65 miles per hour. To allay concerns about safety, the car passed a roll-over test and offset impact, which are not regulated in India. Its barebones design, as of now, does not include more costly features such as power steering, air bags, antilock brakes or an exterior left passenger-side mirror, which are not mandatory in India. Tata Motors is currently developing versions of the Nano for European and American markets.
"Cooper-Hewitt's mission is to present the very latest developments in design and technology and the Tata Nano introduces more families in India to the new world of affordable and safer mobility," said Cara McCarty, curatorial director of the museum. "We're eager to display the Tata Nano at the museum, where many visitors will see it for the first time."