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By Mukesh Khosla

Bajaj 'Lite' car & Amity hybrid

Tata Nano is not just changing the way small cars will look and cost but is also spawning a line of small wonders. And some such are being designed by groups of engineering students from different colleges in India.

Statistics show that India is on its way to becoming one of the world's fastest growing car market. Leading auto manufacturers mostly from the U.S., Europe, Japan and South Korea are all trying to get a foothold and wooing buyers with a mind-boggling variety of models.

But clearly the cynosure of all eyes is the Nano that stole the show at the Delhi Auto Fair. This small wonder has also become an object of admiration and envy among auto giants around the world.

Many leading companies have been forced to go back to their design boards in a bid to bring out a viable alternative to the Rs. 100,000 (around $ 2500) Nano. Others have announced price cuts to their already available small cars and a few are looking around for tie-ups to match the looks and promise of the Nano.

Two-wheeler leader Bajaj Auto has doffed its hat in the arena and announced that it is planning a small car. Hyundai has announced that its own version of a small car would hit the road by 2011. Maruti too initially hinted at a Nano-like variant but there is no certainty about its plans.

But more than the established names announcing ambitious plans for a small car there were concept cars that have been evincing considerable interest and keeping hope alive that in a few years time India could well become the hub of small cars. And these cars are not designed by any auto giants with both financial and R&D clout. They are the brainchild of a handful of engineering students of different colleges.

Many auto giants are asking the students of leading IITs and colleges of engineering to device technological marvels by giving free rein to their impossible dreams. Industry leaders say that these contraptions may look foolhardy today, but could become a possibility tomorrow.

One such small car developed by the students of the Noida-based Amity School of Engineering and Technology attracted a crowd rivaling the Nano at the Delhi Auto Show. India’s First Tri- Fuel Hybrid Concept Car, the Amity Hybrid is a two-seater and has multiple fuel options that would be environmentally-friendly, fuel efficient and help reduce travel costs.


Read the complete article in the South Asian Life & Times (SALT) April - June 2008 issue

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