New Indian-made electric car to hit the roads

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The four-seater, two-door e20 PHOTO FROM MAHINDRA.COM

NEW DELHI—Top Indian utility vehicle maker M&M on Monday launched the most advanced home-grown electric car yet seen, pricing it at $11,000 and saying it hopes to sell the hatchback abroad next year.

The four-seater, two-door e2o—pronounced “ee-too-oh”—has zero emissions, an 80 kmh (50 mph) top speed, is automatic and can run for 100 kilometers on a single charge.

The new car boasts 10 onboard computers analyzing core functions and sending alerts if anything needs fixing—a feature usually found in costlier cars—and can be fully charged in five hours from a 15A power socket.

“This is our vision of the future of mobility,” M&M chairman Anand Mahindra told reporters in New Delhi.

“We need to make a clean energy future,” he said, warning that the nation of 1.2 billion people “is at a tipping point” with vehicle emissions increasingly blamed for respiratory and other illnesses and environmental problems.

“Eco-friendly transport (is) the need of the hour,” he said, with M&M targeting affluent families wanting a car for city jaunts or as a second vehicle. It is looking at selling the car abroad starting next year in Europe and Africa.

The car is the fruit of the $16 billion M&M group’s 2010 purchase of a controlling stake in Indian electric vehicle maker Reva, pioneered by engineer Chetan Maini, as part of a green technology drive.

Maini, who stayed with the firm, told AFP the hatchback was a “game-changing” vehicle compared to the tiny, boxy two-seater Reva, derided by critics as a “golf cart.”

The Reva, known as the G-Wiz in Britain, ended production in 2012 after selling fewer than 5,000 units globally over a decade, with buyers reluctant to pay a premium price for a tiny car.

While the e2o, priced at 596,000 rupees ($11,000), is as much as 300,000 rupees dearer than petrol hatchbacks of a similar size, M&M said fuel savings could total 70,000 rupees annually. The car can also be charged under a solar canopy, saving on energy costs.

The vehicle, to be manufactured at a 30,000-unit-capacity plant in Bangalore, has no oil filters, spark plugs or radiators, reducing maintenance costs.

“It’s a quantum leap from the Reva, but it’s costly, and we don’t have a sufficient pan-India charging network yet. People may not find it practical,” Hormazd Sorabjee, editor of leading car magazine Autocar India, told AFP.

Energy-hungry India’s endemic power outages have also sparked concerns that owners might not be able to re-charge batteries at home when needed.

M&M is banking on India’s government following through with an ambitious $4 billion plan to support an electric vehicle network aimed at having six million electric vehicles on the road by 2020.

A senior company executive said Mahindra Reva would “be happy” to initially sell 400 to 500 cars a month.—Penny MacRae

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  • Lapu Lapu

    All nations should aggressively manufacture electric cars to beak the back bone of the oil cartels. (OPEC)

    They looted us enough.

  • Lauro

    It is totally wrong to say that this car has 0 emission … directly, yes but indirectly mas malala pa ang emission nyan … think about the pollution by burning of coal to power the power plants where the electricity to charge the batteries come from … think about the pollution caused by the discarded batteries …. KUNG HINDI PANLOLOKO ITO … HINDI KO NA ALAM KUNG ANO ANG PANLOLOKO!!!!

  • i_am_filipino

    Do we have to charge it every day and keep our electric bill more expensive than fuel and/or gas? Remember that the Electricity in the Philippines is just one of the most expensive in Asia.

  • Spidekick

    The Philippines should now seriously consider supporting or jumpstarting its own technology-based industries. For so long we have been a nation of consumers. We have not been innovators, manufacturers, developers, trend-setters.

    By now, we should be creating our own consumer products, our own vehicles, our own computers, heck even our own robots. We have the manpower, we have the expertise, we have the scientists, we have the ideas.

    These industries are what’s going to propel us into the future. They will be the bedrock of a strong and profitable export sector, the basis of a healthy and robust balance of trade, and the driver of a powerful economy.

    But yes, our government has time and again ignored research and development. I have yet to learn of a program which sends our best and brightest engineers, physicists, chemists, and other scientists to study in the best universities in the world and further enhance their knowledge and skills on a level where they could help our country develop these industries when they return home. A program where a pool of scholars are commissioned on scientific projects that would jumpstart industries that have tremendous export potential; industries that the government should partially or wholly subsidize on a given timeframe.

    We should remember that all of the greatest civilizations in the world were founded on technology.

    • WeAry_Bat

      There may be still time. I am sure the Reva NXG will have poor acceleration even if its generation can have a top speed of 80kmph.

      I noticed in urban driving, it is very hard to reach 80kmph because of traffic and shorter roads. There is a good, sustainable market for making good electric cars as compared to wowowee casinos.

      If this should be the case, then it is high time we take open up mining and cancel the franchises from China. Yes, China the bully has been carting our mineral resources.

      I am against mining because there seems no balance within the country. Metals are taken out, there is danger in the ecosystem from pollution and loss of surface land. But if the metals are used for environmentally friendly projects within our country, then it should balance the degradation.

      There could be local mining tax deducted from the programs to fund studies and projects to rehabilitate the mining areas. This is additional job and experience for our people. It may be the next decades, hot job market overseas, environmental restoration scientists.

      So going back, what you propose is quite good. Besides, we need better local manufacturing for missiles and warships, a spinoff of such projects.

  • jeff justice

    It may be cheap but there is a downside which the manufacturer will not tell you.

    You might develop the bubblehead syndrome…that is the uncontrollable shaking of your head….yay!

  • UrHONOR

    I’LL buy the sanamagan when made available in the local market. That will certainly solve the pollution and energy problem in the country!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/OJNATN4KHKDPJ47Y4RGR3EXYVQ WindTalker

      Problem is that the kind of car is heavily taxed according to my neighbor who works at Ramcar and they are trying to market electric cars from India… The government should do something about the tax…

  • brunogiordano

    ““We need to make a clean energy future,” he said, warning that the nation of 1.2 billion people “is at a tipping point” with vehicle emissions increasingly blamed for respiratory and other illnesses and environmental problems.”

    RIGHT!!!!

    The government can make the price attractive by lowering its tax and increasing tax of cars using oil.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5UOZM4PWIDKO7G64HL3PPMXUTM Constantine

    Grossly overpriced. It should cost not more than USD3,000. Selling it at USD11,000 is a marketing boo boo! This will not fly unless its price is reduced to only USD3,000.

    • dodong1

      where can you find a brand new car that cost $3,000.00 anywhere in the world?? dream on..better yet you go buy a calesa or kariton…

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