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Sunday, 28 November 2010

Mahindra Reva - a car for shippies?

For anybody who has been on the motoring beat in India for the past
decade and more, a launch function for the regularly reborn Electric
Vehicle "Reva" is like the repeat last button for a favourite song -
you can never get tired of it, sometimes there are a few bits and
pieces added on or removed, and everytime you hear it, you discover
something new that you like even more. This time around, it was the
power back into the batteries from the new improved regenerative
braking systems, that would feed power back not only while braking,
but also decelerating.

But that's not all. Now christened the "Reva-i", it also has another
major "new" feature - the prefix "Mahindra". This brings in a complete
network of dealers all over the country, starting with the urban
centres, even though most of the sales are still in and around
Bengaluru. What this wonderful little runabout lacked was presence and
visibility in other cities - Mahindra hope to fix that by offering the
Reva-i on the same dealer floor next to their full range of products -
Logan, Bolero, Xylo, Scorpio et al.

Current controvery, environmentally driven, about large diesel
vehicles is also relevant. Mahindra has taken it on themselves to
pro-actively offer new technology vehicles - the little known Scorpio
Hybrid is one such example. The Reva-i fills a slot in the Mahindra
bouquet - those who buy a 4WD SUV can also pick up a Reva-i from the
same showroom. That is more than anything the whole clutch of
"foreign" manufacturers have done in India.

Essentially a two-seater two-door four-wheeler, the Reva-i comes with
lead-acid batteries in India, largely for reasons of cost. Ask them
about new battery technology, which they have, and you get shy grins.
The left seat is designed to fold, and using the rear hatch, a
full-size golf set fits in with a few centimetres to spare. With a
body made of ABS panels, repairs are as simple as mixing a pre-packed
solution, adding colour pigments, and patching things back on. Full
automatic (there is a forward, neutral and reverse "button" on the
dashboard), with a stated top speed of 80 kmph, you get three trim
levels - including one with air-conditioning.

Charging is by ordinary 220v 15 amps plug and socket arrangements -
assumption is that you have the facility for secure overnight parking
and charging. Like all batteries, it charges from almost emoty to 80%
in a short while, around 2-3 hours, but for the last 20%, will take
another 5 hours more.

This correspondent has driven the Reva extensively, and has seen it
evolve over the last decade into a very reliable local car, unlike the
earlier editions. (Some people may remember a Miss World contest in
Bengaluru, and the adverse publicity achieved then.) Likewise,
Mahindrahad also launched an electric 3-wheeler, named "Bijlee", way
back in 2002 - which wqs soon put aside.

The new Reva-i, however, has proven itself in developed countries. And
now, as the song goes, its time for India. Waka waka, reva-i.
What we would like to see in the newer Revas:- LED lamps, new
generation batteries, proper two-door two-seater configuration instead
of pretending and trying to be a 4-seater, certainly more subsidies
and exemptions, and as our model portrays - more head room.
(Reva also has a technology tie-up with General Motors, primarily
announced for an electric version of the Chevrolet Spark, on which we
look forward to hearing some more soon.)
Please see the photos at

1 comment:

  1. Our future will be full of electric cars or it may be happen that we will drive only electric vehicles.Fossil fuels going to be exhausted one day.Reva looks a best option in India which got great looks with high mileage.