What is the world's cheapest alternative fuel car?

Go, Go Speed Racer: The Tara Tiny's Advantages

The Tara Tiny attains a reported top speed of about 25 mph (40 kilometers per hour). Tara International chairman and CEO Tara Ganguly doesn't see this as a problem. In fact, Ganguly envisioned the Tiny as an inner-city vehicle that isn't meant to be driven on the ultra-clogged highways of India. (In other words, road trips are a bad idea.) On city streets, an electric vehicle has distinct advantages over its gasoline-powered cousin.

Some of these advantages include:

  • Simplicity: The Tiny has about 35 moving parts, compared to the more than 2,500 parts included in a typical gasoline-powered car of the same size.
  • Reliability: Due to the car's simplicity, the Tiny may be more reliable than other cars, simply because there are fewer parts to maintain, replace or ruin.
  • Cleanliness and Safety: The Tiny produces no emissions because it's powered by batteries and an electric motor. At 25 mph (40 kilometers per hour), the car is also safer because most fatal accidents occur when a driver is moving faster than that speed.
  • Economy: Most electric vehicles cost about 10 to 15 percent of the total operating cost of a standard gasoline-powered vehicle when all maintenance, fuel and repair bills are combined. Ganguly estimated it would cost mere pennies per mile to operate the car for its estimated life span of 25 years.

The final factor -- and perhaps the most important one for Ganguly -- is efficiency. However, examining an EV's efficiency means getting into the guts of the vehicle, which we'll do in the next section.

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