Three years after Mahindra group acquired Bangalore-based electric car maker Reva, the company launched its first electric car 'e2o' priced at Rs 5.96 lakh (on road Delhi, after state subsidy).
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 said.
The two-door, four-seater car is powered by new generation lithiumion batteries and a three phase induction electric motor. It has driving range of 100 kms per charge, which takes 5 hours for one full charging. The fully automatic car is aimed for city driving.
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.
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."
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 5.96 lakh, 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.
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.
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 on the development of the car and construction of a manufacturing plant with an annual capacity of 30,000 units a year.
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."
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.
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."
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 amounted was capped at Rs one lakh. The scheme had expired on March 31, 2012.
However, in the Budget 2013-14, the government had only provided full exemption from basic customs duty to lithium ion automotive battery used in hybrid and electric vehicles. It had also extended the time period of exemption on some other specified components of electric and hybrid vehicles by 2 more years up to March, 31, 2015.
With PTI inputs