The pudgy decadeold Reva gave way to a more substantial looking e2o this year after the company was bought by Mahindra and Mahindra. While that has made the car more attractive, lack of subsidies and poor infrastructure have left the car standing on the starting block.
“We tried to address some issues with the Reva while designing the new car,” said Chetan Maini, deputy chairman, Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicle Co. “It is a bigger vehicle with more power and space at the back. We also introduced a lot of features ... so if you compare its price to an automatic small car, it isn’t that high.”
Yet, sales have been lacking. Mahindra, which bought a majority 55% stake in Reva for an undisclosed amount in 2010, expected monthly sales of 400-500 units, but in eight months, it has managed to sell only a few hundred units. Its high price (`5.96 lakh) offsets the benefit of its low running cost (50 paise/km).
Analysts agree that the e2o is a step up from the Reva, but say fundamental problems have not been addressed.
“I do not think lack of subsidy is the big issue,” said Pradeep Saxena, executive director, TNS Automotive. “People are not fully aware... what happens if the battery runs dry, where can the car be charged etc. One may not drive over 100 km a day, but range anxiety is an impediment.”
The company is developing electric variants of cars such as Verito Vibe, but till infrastructure for charging these cars comes up, the electric dream is still ahead of its time.