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The Rs 5.96 lakh Mahindra electric car 'e2o'

Last updated on: March 19, 2013 14:31 IST

The Rs 5.96 lakh Mahindra electric car 'e2o'

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The Mahindra group on Monday launched its first electric car 'e2o' priced at Rs 596,000 (on road Delhi, after state subsidy), almost three years after it acquired Bangalore-based electric car maker Reva.

The group also said it has plans to extend the electric mobility technology to its two-wheelers, while seeking support from the central government for pushing eco-friendly vehicles.

"The launch of the Mahindra e2o marks an important milestone for the Mahindra Group...it advances the group's efforts at redefining sustainable urbanisation with the creation of an ecosystem that includes mobility solutions along with other environment friendly innovations," Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra told reporters in New Delhi.

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The Rs 5.96 lakh Mahindra electric car 'e2o'

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Based on Mahindra's revolutionary Sun2Car design philosophy, the e2o gets powered by a 48-volt, 19kW electric motor that comes mated to an automatic transmission system and promises a peak 25.47bhp at 3750rpm along with a torque of 53 Nm delivered all across the rev-range.

One of the best things about this new EV is that the next generation maintenance-free Lithium ion batteries that have been coupled to its powerhouse can be charged using any ordinary 220V 15A plug point and require not more than 5 hours to get fully charged for a 100km-long trip.

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The Rs 5.96 lakh Mahindra electric car 'e2o'

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To ensure that this fabulous range claimed by the company does not remain restricted to the domains of 'on paper' only, a regenerative braking system has been loaded on the new Reva, which allows the batteries to automatically recharge themselves during braking thereby ensuring optimum usage of energy.

It has also a host of features like GPS navigation system, keyless entry, start/stop button, regenerative braking feature, which puts energy back into the car's batteries and charges them every time it is slowed down or brakes are applied.

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The Rs 5.96 lakh Mahindra electric car 'e2o'

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Paying special attention to passenger safety, a remarkable assortment of tools and technologies has been put together by Reva engineers for the safety arsenal of the e2o.

Starting from low resistance tubeless tyres, to a welded tubular chassis that encompasses three crumple zones, to side impact beams, to Hill Hold function, to engine immobilizer, to gear-shift and charge interlocks, to a scratch- and dent-resistant body, to REVive that activates the energy reserve of the car in case of an emergency simply by an SMS - Mahindra e2o has it all.

Commenting on the market expansion plans for the e2o, Mahindra & Mahindra President (Automotive and Farm Equipment Sectors) Pawan Goenka said: "We will be launching it in eight other cities over the next three to four weeks.

The prices will vary as it would depend on how much subsidy state governments will give to the electric car."

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Put together at the new Bengaluru-based high-tech production facility of M&M, the e2o first broke cover at the 2012 Auto Expo in January last year by the name of Reva NXR. And today, after over a year of that unveiling, the first phase of the car's launch was kicked off in the presence of several eminent personalities including Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit.

In Delhi, the government has given a total of 29 per cent subsidy on the electric car as a result of which the company has been able to sell it at an on-road price of Rs 596,000 he said, adding it would be more expensive in other cities.

The 'e2o' will also be launched in Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Pune and Kochi.

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Besides the safety package, a lot of other modern gadgets have been brought on board the e2o to make the riding experience all the more comfortable and convenient.

Especially the full-fledged infotainment system that comes packing up a 6.2-inch touchscreen display along with CD/DVD/USB/AUX/MicroSD and iPod connectivity makes for an incredible infotainment-cum-navigation system.

When asked if the group will extend the electric vehicle technology to two-wheelers, Mahindra said: "Yes. We do have plans to take this technology to two-wheelers. We have some exciting plans." He, however, did not share details.

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The presence of smartphone integration simplifies matters even further for the passengers, allowing functions like locking/unlocking and AC/heater power ON/OFF to be operated through their smartphones.

Apart from all this, a total of 10 microprocessors have been integrated in the system of the e2o to monitor the 'health' of its battery and prevent any sudden breakdowns.

The e2o has been developed on technology of Reva, which the Mahindra group had acquired in May 2010.

The company has invested a total of Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion) on the development of the car and construction of a manufacturing plant with an annual capacity of 30,000 units a year.

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Other than all these amazing features and fitment, there are a number of minute details that together add considerable value to the entire package of Mahindra e2o.

Be it the low resistance tyres that account for lesser friction and hence a better mileage, the Boost system that serves to improve the car's pick-up, the small turning radius of 3.9 metres that makes it an excellent city traffic commuter, the 1.95-metre wheelbase that provides comfortable room for 4 passengers or the vibrant paint palette that includes some pretty exciting colours namely, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, Eco Green, Ocean White, Spanish Red and Sunfire Yellow, all of these together make the e2o not only efficient but convenient and attractive too.

When asked about sales expectations, Goenka said: "We will be happy if we can do about 400-500 units a month. We expect Delhi to be the biggest market and should account for about 150-200 units."

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The company has already set up over 250 charging stations in various cities, with 95 in Delhi and over 100 in Bangalore, he added.

Goenka said the company is working on a new variant of the e2o, which will have the faster charging option of just one hour. Besides, it also plans to export the new electric car to Europe in six to nine months time.

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Seeking support from the Centre to push the eco-friendly technology, Goenka said: "We would have been happier if there were subsidies in the Budget. However, one should not make subsidy a pre-condition for the success of this vehicle."

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In addition to that, an optional solar panel is also available for installation at the roof of the car so as to facilitate charging whenever ample sunlight is available.

What's more, the Mahindras are also working on establishing several solar-panelled charging stations at various locations across the country where sunlight is available in abundance to simplify the entire self-fuelling process for Mahindra e2o owners.

The auto industry had sought re-introduction of a scheme launched by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in 2010 under which incentives of up to 20 per cent on the ex-factory prices of the vehicles were offered subject to a maximum limit.

For an electric car the subsidy amount was capped at Rs 100,000. The scheme had expired on March 31, 2012.

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As far as competition is concerned, there is hardly any vehicle in the Indian auto-market that can prove to be a potential rival to this latest electric marvel.

However, if Nissan Leaf decides to venture into the Indian realms anytime soon, the Reva e2o might have to gear up for a considerably fierce battle.

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