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Ashish K Mishra
Counter intuitive motor head with a fancy for old cars, green tech and clean fingers

Will you buy the Mahindra Reva e2o?

Chetan Maini

Chetan Maini

Earlier yesterday, I had a long chat with Chetan Maini, the chief technology & strategy officer at Mahindra Reva. Mr. Maini has been the electric vehicle (EV) evangelist in India for a long, long time. His first attempt at cracking the EV market (way back in 2001) was with the Revai, produced and sold by the Reva Electric Car Company. The Revai didn’t do well. For several reasons: the car was too small even by small car standards (seating of 2 adults and 2 children), practical problems of where to charge the battery, cost of replacing the lead acid battery every 3 odd years, a limited range of 80 kms and poor speed.

In 2010, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) bought a controlling stake in Reva. Now over the last two years, Mr. Maini has been busy putting all the technology bits together to launch the second generation of the Revai called the ‘e2o’. The car is ready and should be launched in the next month or two. But the question is; will you buy it? Mahindra Reva is confident that you will. A good way to look at this might be to understand, what has changed in the last decade.

Here’s what I have picked up from my conversation with Mr. Maini.

-99 percent of the customers of the e2o will charge the car at home or work. So the first level of infrastructure to charge the car is already there. Coming home and plugging in the car could be second nature for users

-You care about global warming

-You care about your rising petrol/diesel bills

-Government policy is changing. It recognizes the fact that EVs need to be promoted so it may soon incentivize usage by tax breaks and investments in R&D. The government is working on a policy document called electric mobility 2020

-5 percent of all cars sold in Norway were electric cars in 2012

The Mahindra Reva electric vehicle

Mahindra Reva e2o

-Compared to the lead acid battery in the Revai, the e2o has a lithium ion battery. This is about four times lighter, about 250 kg in absolute terms. This is a significant reduction in weight which will translate into better power.

-Life span of the lithium ion battery is about three times longer. So earlier if you had issues of replacing the lead acid battery every 3 odd years, in the e2o the battery will last more than five years. Mr. Maini adds, “significantly longer depending on usage”.

-The lithium ion battery is maintenance free.

-Thanks to the development in battery technology, the e2o will give full power right till the end.

-A full charge for e2o shall consume about 10 units compared to 8 of the Revai. The cost depends on the tariffs in different states in India. It could range from Rs 3 to Rs 7 per unit. Or we could say that the electricity bill for a 1000 km usage may be Rs 400 to Rs 700 due different tariffs in different states.

-It will take five hours to completely charge the e2o. The Revai would take eight hours or more.

-Now you can opt for a fast charging station. The total charging time gets reduced to an hour. Currently, no such public charging station exists in the country.

-Mr. Maini claims that the e2o will have a range of 160 km. The earlier Revai had a range of 80 km.

-Mahindra Reva will work towards building the second level of charging infrastructure. “In malls or where you have seen a lot of communities put it up. Here the policy of the government has a big role.

-The e2o will seat 4 full-grown adults

So will this EV be India’s Prius, what do you think?

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Company can make the recurring expenses of charging the vehicle absolutely free.. Do you know how? Its simple, setup solar panels..
E20 is good car considering it is developed for India which has by far poorest grid. But , this is a global phenomenon mahindra should think global market and develop for it and then adopt it in india. Biggest challenge is range anxiety which is through kms per charge and speed at which it charges. I think E20 with 4 people capacity and 250 -300 litre total boot space and 250 km range and can charge in 1 hr is the winning combination if they can get under 10 lakhs it is going to revolutionize the market. I am hopeful that this will happen because nissan almost at the spitting distance. lets see if mahindra can do it.
I believe electric is the future and M&M should develop this technology, also should act as a accelerator in this area like idea incubation plans and open innovation to get to market faster.Unfortunately India has very poor electrical distribution infrastructure in general and not much government support. Pushing electric cars may be not a good idea in india, but there are other countries who want electric cars pretty badly like Norway. M&M can make indigenous product for international usage and slowly get the experience when India is ready implement it here, with this they are forefront in electric cars and battery technology which has multiplier effect on other green technologies.
I think Andman and Nicobar may be the most suitable place to start promoting electric cars. It offers following advantages. 1. Presently fuel is supplied to Andman and Nicobar islands through ships and hence it is expensive. 2. Being smaller place easy to cover the area using electric cars with limted range without any range anxitey. 3. It being a tourist place and tourists are attracted for it's pollution free environment. With electric cars there will be less pollution and hence will attract more tourists. 4. Solar charging stations could be deployed for charging the cars. Our government can start with converting all government vehicles to electric. Also, offer incentive to people for buying electric cars. Provide free charging using solar charing stations.
Hi guyz , any one who bought E2O - wannted to get a feedback !
I would love to gift to my Parents..!
the price quoted in most of the websites (5.96lacs) is applicable to only delhi after subsidy of more than 1.5 lacs from state govt..please note no other state is providing this.. In other cities the on road price for T0 is 8.5 and T1 model is 8.95lacs (except bangalore)... most of the websites (some of them might be paid) praises the car.. but the reality is that it is not worth more than 4 to 5 lacs.. there is nothing great about this..M&M have done just arranged a big body for the old reva and they say the E2O is technically far from old reva-i... who cares..when the basic purpose itself is not served... if you arrange the solar panel at home for 1.5 lacs (mentioned by mahindra )..then the price is more than 10 lacs and one can happily buy an XUV500... entering into the rear seat is definitely a tough job...a medium built person finds it difficult.. the worst part is that the break and accelerator are very closely packed with no space on either side and hardly any space between them.. it is possible that you press accelerator instead of breaks... it doesn't need great engineering but just common sense.. mahindra reva boasts of fuel savings.. does it mention the limitations? the range is very less..less than 100km..if you are in a heavu traffice with A/C on..you get max of 70km.. tha battery life according to mahindra is 5yrs..what if it gets damaged in an year..it costs you 1.5lacs.. similar to mobile/laptop batteries, this also has the aging effects because of which the duration that the charge lasts slowly comes down..in the first year, on full charge if it runs 100km..in second year it may run only 80km.. by the end of 5yrs it may come down to 40km.. if you frequently charge before complete discharge..then also the battery life will be very less.. you cant go beyond city limits even in full charge (though it is designed for city drive and recommended as second car)..with the same money you can have a second and third car (considering swift/ hyundai i10 etc)...
Buddy, Thats exactly what Companies like Mahindra want. They DONT want you to buy this. The 8L price tag will effectively kill this car. They bought Reva for this very reason. Who will take the risk and buy a e-Car for 8L, when you can get cars for 3-4L. Their talk about ECO, global warming etc is a corporate stunt. If they care so much about the environment then shut down all the gas guzzling SUVs they are selling.
I m very glade to c this,that M&M launched the e2o in India,I like all of its Looks, Specifications & future generation features,but one thing m thinking about this car is,if I go for a long Drive just like 200 - 300 km with out stooping for a few moment,then how can I goo,I heard that if I charged it full than I just drive it only 100 km.,just tell me how could it b possible...!& the second thing is that,can we not set the solar charging panels on the roof of the car,then,it'll be charged on the move..!Tell me is it possible..?
yes indeed I shall buy it
What will keep the lithium batteries from catching on fire like the Boeing 787 plane?
Reva E20 Passes 104 Electric Stringent test No Chance of Catching fire and there ABS panels doesn't allow to do so.
Audience would be more interested in comparison with usual hatchbacks, the interview still not answers if it is worth buying. Talk about resale value, style quotient, age..and so on and so forth PS - It indeed is a good initiative !!! I might as well buy a green car like this, if it is better than a Nissan Micra or a Hyundai E20 (given the price band)
this car is narrow.. this car is solid .. this looks like my dream car .. that i have always been dreaming of .. in which i could drive around my city easily ... this could easily get into my home.. which doesnt have a wide gate ...
Absolutely. 1 idea to attract more customers is to setup charging stations in public like petrol pumps. This would pacify people's fears about the range. I would buy the car with a lower range/lower price if I could charge it on-the-go or at petrol-bunks/malls etc. Just like Tesla has done in the US.
There are always people making noises this EV vehicle run only 160-180 km. Now tell me how many of you driving more than this every day. Another complaint there is no sufficient electricity which are the states dont have minimum 6 hrs electricity in a day? If so many people using surely our electric consumption goes up. That time obviously govt. finds ways to increase the power generation. This is India man our govt. dont move until we push them to...... So many of you dont like as the same reason one of my cousin dont like diesel cars even thought diesel price is very less, even he tried but simply he dont like it. Same goes for EV. Some people simply dont get along with new things that is your problem. It is time we need to try new things........... until you are a highly paid CO in IT or Finance. This vehicle for a common man who can buy a vehicle but cant afford its running cost. So look at things in that perspective........... my english could be as perfect as that Oxford guys as I am one of that millions of common man, working class guy
My 5 year old Reva gave the confidence that I can drive on Bangalore city roads...I just love it...I have got a call for the special test drive of E2O and really excited about it...
I am taking this pain to write a long comment cos I think I have something to say & share:-
I bought mine 18 months back and my wife drives it daily to office ( 60km 2-ways). Its our vehicle of choice for weekend commutations within city. We take out our primary car ( Dzire ) once in 1 or 2 months. Feels like I am wasting money by keeping 2 cars. But then one needs a normal car for occasional weekend getaways , trips to Airport, hometown and when my parent pay me a visit from Kerala. But I appreciate Kiran's point here -- It may be better to rent-a-car for those occasional needs. You can rent a model of your choice and enjoy the variety.
Guys, Without getting into each and every details of Reva, let me assure you that it gives you a very satisfied ownership as long as you buy it for what it is ( ie 2-seater car with a max 55km trip in a day).
-- The charging is a non-issue. You just plug it in at your parking place when you get back home .
-- it easily saves 5000 rs of petrol bill a month ( compared to a small petrol car that runs 1250km a month)
--The front seat leg space is huge. I am a 6ft guy and can sit with my one leg folded.
-- The driving is very comfortable. you feel less tired after a session in city streets.
-- The pickup & pull are surprisingly good.( for the first 30kmph it will take a powerful petrol car to beat me).
-- The backsite seats folds forward and can accommodate any shopping .
-- Keeping children in back seat is very safe as there are no door or other things that they can fiddle around. My 4yr boy loves it. Just dump him and dozen of his toys in the back. he is happy & we too .
Now some of the negatives: -
-- The service stations are ill equipped to service Reva. They don't have technicians who knows the car and neither they have the parts handy. I am adequately covered since I am in Bangalore. However your experience in other cities may vary.
-- The shock-ups could be better.
-- The plastics used inside are not aesthetic and the finish (or lack of it) is noticeable.
-- The practical range of 60km is slightly discomforting. A 100km range will avoid any calculation one has to do while taking out Reva for a city ride. ( e2o solves that)
-- I bought the high-end version for almost 4lacs (on road) . That includes a 50K subsidy from govt. and 25k discount from mahindra. looks like the un-subsidized price is 4.75 now. In short, the pricing needs to be 20-25% less. Govt. needs to waive tax and extend subsidy.
Will I buy new Reva ?
Got a call from Mahindra. looks like they may have some exchange offer. Depending on the e2o price & the offer, I may actually sell my Dzire, exchange Reva & go for it. Else I am happy with my current fleet of Dzire, Reva, impulse & 10yr old Activa. ( all of them are value for money)
Thanks Ranjit. Very good perspective.
Thanks Ranjit to take time out to tell the real thing ! your write up was better than the interview in terms of facts and first hand experience !
Will Reva or e20 have A/C. Being in hot summer, no one can drive a car without A/c, yes if the body like Mahindra Jeep with all side open.
Yeah , the reva AC is pretty good ( I guess the basic version is w/o AC). You get 50-55 km range with AC ON for the whole ride. Add 5-10 km w/o AC ON.
The biggest advantage of electric cars is that, they can be used along with solar panels. Better still, they can store electricity from the solar panels and can be used to power house-hold appliances during the night.
An electric car brings an important asset to support renewable energy deployment in our homes : Battery.
I think that Mahindra Reva E20 is an important step in the right direction and hope to see them become like Tesla. Tesla, the exclusive electric car company in the US has already created huge ripples in the auto industry.
Let us threaten the petrol/diesel monopoly of the govt and go green simultaneously by buying electric cars.
Ashish thanks for a nice and insightful article. Said all it had to say. Am definitely going to buy this. Am conscious about the damage to environment and dependency on petrol/diesel. I will not drive for more than 80kms in a day. That makes it one full charge for 2 days. I have talked to a lot of RevaI customers and all of them are pretty satisfied with the performance of the present version and are definitely looking forward for the release of E20. Can understand some of the critisisms below but cannot fathom the understanding of people who call the launch of this car a stupidity. Its high time people realize the damage that we are doing to the environment and start doing something about it. People doing comparision math with other cars should consider the fuel cost too. The serious drawback that Revai had was the inability to seat more than 2 adults. Now that E20 has delivered it I do not find why it should not be considered as a game changer for city cars.
It will be good car for ladies. No gear and clutch trouble. Small turning radius. Compare the e20 with auto gear cars not to Nano or Alto. It will be good city car for both men and women especially good in congested city roads and frequent stops. If I go on long drive (>150 km) I take a OIL car for rent and go which is once in 6 months or once in a year. I dont travel more than 40 KM in a day. I can charge once in 2 days like my mobile phone. To avoid pollution, people are going in car, and causing pollution to others. with this Reva e20, I can protect myself from pollution and also not cause pollution for others, and we can give pollution free roads for our kids to go out. More important we dont have to IMPORT dirty OIL from outsiders shelling out hard earned money. Good for India and good for Indians. OIL lamps have gone and electric lights have come. Same way OIL cars will go and electric cars will come. No one can stop it.. Jai Hind!
I am just wondering how can you claim a 2-door car to be 4- seater!! 6-8 hours to charge! Battery that might need to be replaced at 60K KMs... And does anyone remember the northern grid fall out in the summer of 2012? Where is the electricity to charge this car? The older Reva had sold only 4,500 units in last 12 years!! This one might sell 10,000 units. But this car is plain stupid!!! I am just wondering what have they been smoking at Reva? They should take a cue from Nissan Leaf and come out with a real car!
waiting for REVA e20...
Perfect car for the kill (self). I do not understand why the car makers keep coming with a "prototypes" even after spending so much man hours and money in research. All these cars look good in the "car expos" . Unveil it make noise, get mileage for the brand & forget it. Read - How to kill an electric car" if that the way you go green then you better not get on the streets. Auto manufacturers - be practical, i mean when did you see a the first electric car manufactured and whats the year today? We still struggle to launch a decent EV? I smell a big rotten rat there.
Probably not. If I have to pay up 5L-6L (thats what I would expect e20 to be priced at) for a vehicle that goes less than 200Km. Does not make economic sense. I am very pro environment - but as a consumer, I would buy a Nano for under 2L and spend another 2L planting trees. A consumer vehicle needs to make economic sense too.. I would buy a EV that can seat 4 adults (like nano) for under 4L. Since I might be forced to commit another 6-7L for a "primary" petrol/diesel vehicle for trips beyond 100Km. At the price point, Reva is also not a "bike upgrade" like Nano. (I keep on comparing Nano for the size and practical drivable distance). It would be a hard sell as a green statement. I would really be willing to pay a price premium for a hybrid car as it makes wayyy more practicable sense. I can buy only one car and that can be a hybrid that will give 40+ Kmpl
Really looking forward to this car launch. The Revai was priced between 3.6-4.5 lacs if I am not mistaken. If the pricing for this one is matching with the current premium / semi-premium hatchbacks, it can become the first choice for many since eventual running cost + maintenance cost will be far lesser than current petrol / diesel hatchbacks. I have had a chance to sit in earlier model of Reva (in Mumbai) and particularly found the ground clearance to be low. If e20 is with a ground clearance of 165mm or more, this will be an huge advantage, especially for commuters in cities like Mumbai, Pune amongst others. Unable to find the official specs of e20 as yet. Ashish - I have been following your articles religiously since April 2012. Enjoy reading your inputs and views on various issues relating to the automobile industry. Thank you.
Hi Sagar, glad you like the piece.
I have been driving the reva for the last year and plan to upgrade to the e2o next year. I have no real issues with my reva, and i think its a great city car.
Agree there . I bought mine 18 months back and my wife drives it daily to office ( 60km 2-ways). Its our vehicle of choice for weekend commutations within city. We take out our primary car ( Dzire ) once in 1 or 2 months. Feels like I am wasting money by keeping 2 cars. But then one needs a normal car for occasional weekend getaways , trips to Airport, hometown and when my parent pay me a visit from Kerala. But I appreciate Kiran's point here -- It may be better to rent-a-car for those occasional needs. You can rent a model of your choice and enjoy the variety. Guys, Without getting into each and every details of Reva, let me assure you that it gives you a very satisfied ownership as long as you buy it for what it is ( ie 2-seater car with a max 55km trip in a day). -- The charging is a non-issue. You just plug it in at your parking place when you get back home . -- it easily saves 5000 rs of petrol bill a month ( compared to a small petrol car that runs 1250km a month) --The front seat leg space is huge. I am a 6ft guy and can sit with my one leg folded. -- The driving is very comfortable. you feel less tired after a session in city streets. -- The pickup & pull are surprisingly good.( for the first 30kmph it will take a powerful petrol car to beat me). -- The backsite seats folds forward and can accommodate any shopping . -- Keeping children in back seat is very safe as there are no door or other things that they can fiddle around. My 4yr boy loves it. Just dump him and dozen of his toys in the back. he is happy & we too . Now some of the negatives: - -- The service stations are ill equipped to service Reva. They don't have technicians who knows the car and neither they have the parts handy. I am adequately covered since I am in Bangalore. However your experience in other cities may vary. -- The shock-ups could be better. -- The plastics used inside are not aesthetic and the finish (or lack of it) is noticeable. -- The practical range of 60km is slightly discomforting. A 100km range will avoid any calculation one has to do while taking out Reva for a city ride. ( e2o solves that) -- I bought the high-end version for almost 4lacs (on road) . That includes a 50K subsidy from govt. and 25k discount from mahindra. looks like the un-subsidized price is 4.75 now. In short, the pricing needs to be 20-25% less. Govt. needs to waive tax and extend subsidy. Will I buy new Reva ? Got a call from Mahindra. looks like they may have some exchange offer. Depending on the e2o price & the offer, I may actually sell my Dzire, exchange Reva & go for it. Else I am happy with my current fleet of Dzire, Reva, impulse & 10yr old Activa. ( all of them are value for money)
very good for go green i like it
 
 
Ashish K Mishra
Former senior principal correspondent at Forbes (India). Since 2008, I have been writing on corporate strategy in the automobiles, clean technology and supply chain space. Before I got onto this assignment, I was part of the team that covered feature articles at The Economic Times. I actually started out as a trainee journalist on the ET desk in 2006. I graduated in commerce from Shri Ram College of Commerce in New Delhi and now live in Mumbai.

I love automobiles and spend hours reading up on them and then devote painfully long hours to work on old cars that attract my fancy. Right now I own four cars (my colleagues call them fancy, junk or whatever) and a bicycle which outside my work hours get most of my attention.
 
 
 
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November 19, 2014 10:07 am by Ritesh
Company can make the recurring expenses of charging the vehicle absolutely free.. Do you know how? Its simple, setup solar panels..
August 31, 2014 10:25 am by Santosh
E20 is good car considering it is developed for India which has by far poorest grid. But , this is a global phenomenon mahindra should think global market and develop for it and then adopt it in india. Biggest challenge is range anxiety which is through kms per charge and speed at which it charges. ...
June 23, 2014 11:33 am by Santosh
I believe electric is the future and M&M should develop this technology, also should act as a accelerator in this area like idea incubation plans and open innovation to get to market faster.Unfortunately India has very poor electrical distribution infrastructure in general and not much government su...
November 26, 2013 14:12 pm by Vijay
I think Andman and Nicobar may be the most suitable place to start promoting electric cars. It offers following advantages. 1. Presently fuel is supplied to Andman and Nicobar islands through ships and hence it is expensive. 2. Being smaller place easy to cover the area using electric cars with li...
September 05, 2013 23:00 pm by Shelly
Hi guyz , any one who bought E2O - wannted to get a feedback !