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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New Cheap Electric Car - Mahindra Reva - Made in India - $12000

The Mahindra Riva will start at $12000 US.
Copied from PlugInCars web page -

Mahindra Reva e2O, an all-new electric four-seat hatchback. But it might get some attention in translation: U.S. $10,974. That’s got to be an all-time low price for a lithium-ion battery vehicle that’s more than a golf cart.

Of course, that’s the price in New Delhi, where the car was unveiled March 18. The capital city subsidizes electric cars, and the E2O will run $12,800 to $15,651 in states with no incentives. Still, it’s an eye-popping price for an EV. Mahindra also claims that the car will cost only a penny per kilometer to operate, and that’s pretty low, too.

Chetan Maini, Reva's chief of technology and strategy, told that the new car is aimed at "people who are looking for a second car in the family for their daily intra-city use."


Make no mistake, this new EV is fairly basic. (Reva's earlier G-Wiz, was pretty awful, but famously found a market in England as a cheap way to avoid paying London congestion fares.) The range of 100 kilometers translates to just 62 miles. It's strictly a city car, but Mahindra isn’t claiming otherwise—it’s “an urban mobility solution for a sustainable zero-emission society.”

Top speed is just 50 mph, so it’s got big challenges in the freeway-dominated U.S. But Maini says export to other countries is part of the picture, and a European version should debut next year.
The advantages of clean transportation in Indian cities is undeniable, since the country has the worst urban air pollution in the world—topping even China. The level of cancer-causing PM 2.5 particulate matter in New Delhi was recently measured at 400 micrograms per cubic meter, compared to 172 micrograms in severely polluted Beijing. The New York Times’ India blog reported, “Air pollution levels [in New Delhi] far exceeded those in Beijing, only without any government acknowledgement or action.”

The e2O (“ee-too-oh”) does have some modern features, including “boost mode” for faster acceleration, and a smart phone app that can activate a charge, switch on the AC (important in baking India) and unlock the doors. The list of standard features is impressive, including a 6.2-inch touchscreen, factory navigation, “DVD, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity.” Mahindra boasts of “10 on-board computers.”

Safety hasn’t been a strong point in Indian cars—the G-Wiz crumpled when crashed into a table by Britain’s waggish Top Gear team. The new e2O boasts a “large front crumple zone,” “dual side impact beams,” and a “hood designed for pedestrian impact safety.” India’s roads are a free-for-all of cows, pedestrians, motorcycle rickshaws and other obstacles, so hitting something is a distinct possibility. Maini says the car will meet European crash standards.

Mahindra Reva has the clout to get the electric car established in India. Aside from a few electric buses running tourists to the Taj Mahal, the EV is not well established now. But the Indian government wants six million EVs by 2020, and has committed $4.13 billion to the task. Some part of that funds will go to bolstering the embryonic charging network, and another part to subsidizing electric motorbikes, a huge potential market.

Mahindra, a huge conglomerate with 155,000 employees, is well positioned to help electrify India. The company bought Reva in 2010. The Reva brand has already become surprisingly international, sold in 24 countries with 124 million miles covered. Mahindra has a new factory for the E2O that can reportedly produce 30,000 cars annually.

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