Engineers in Tata Motors are working hard on the Nano Diesel, a car that could realize Ratan Tata’s vision of putting India’s two wheeler owners on four wheels. The Nano Diesel has been spotted numerous times in and around the Tata Motors factory in Pimpri, off Pune. Thousands of kilometers away, some men in white coats are said to be burning the midnight oil to come up with a worthy challenger to the Nano Diesel. Yes, we’re talking about Suzuki’s team of engineers deployed to build an 800cc small capacity turbo diesel engine.
This 800cc turbo diesel engine that Suzuki is building is expected to eventually end up in a small car that will be pitted against the Nano Diesel. So, even before the Nano Diesel has hit production, it seems to be spawning competition from the world’s foremost small car maker, Suzuki. The first Maruti Suzuki small car with a turbo diesel engine under the hood could become a production reality as early as 2014. The 800cc turbo diesel engine currently being developed by Suzuki could eventually be used to power a range of Maruti Suzuki small cars like the A-Star and the WagonR.
Tata Motors and Suzuki aren’t the only two car makers looking at small capacity turbo diesel engines for small cars. Volkswagen has the twin cylinder 800cc TDI turbo diesel engine in its kitty. This engine, which powers the XL1 Concept is being readied up for use in the likes of the Volkswagen Up! and the Skoda CitiGo. So, we have no less than three car makers seeking to take the small capacity turbo diesel route to win the ever growing diesel powered small car market across the world. This could spark off a trend with more car makers jumping on to the small capacity turbo diesel engine brigade.
A small car with a turbo diesel engine under the hood will be extremely frugal given the fact that diesel engines are inherently more fuel efficient than petrol engines. The diesel powered small cars would also have good driveability with bagfuls of torque that well tuned diesel engines deliver right from the word go. Finally, turbo diesel engines actually produce lesser CO2 emissions than equivalent petrol motors. So, these triad of benefits could result in diesel powered small cars being the next big thing in the Indian car market and possibly in Europe as well. The Tata Nano Diesel, in true Tata tradition could spark of a trend. On whether it’ll be the biggest beneficiary of this trend is something that we’ll have to wait and watch for.