Earlier, the green tag didn’t do the trick. But spiralling fuel prices and government sops appear to have given a fresh lease of life to electric vehicles in the country.
On Wednesday, REVA Electric Car Company (RECC) launched its battery-driven, pollution-free car in the Capital and said it would ramp up production by five fold through this year to 30,000. The car has been around for some years, but Indians never took to it because of a prohibitive price tag.
Wednesday’s re-introduction follows a Delhi government sop of a 15 per cent subsidy to battery-driven vehicles besides exemption from local taxes. The launch underscores the growing potential for electric vehicles in India. In two months, Lohia Auto Industries will foray into battery-driven bikes and three wheelers. The Hero Group, which broke off with UK’s Ultra Motors, is another new player. Ultra Motors itself is targeting sales of 60,000 units.
REVA’s base model will cost Rs 2, 99,000 — almost thrice the price of the Nano and nearly 50 per cent more than the entry level Maruti 800. But the company says the car’s low running costs make it a good buy. If one drives 40 km daily, it would save Rs 4,500 per month in fuel and maintenance cost, compared to competing petrol models.