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?Reva is cost effective in the long run?

The Reva, India?s first electric car, might look and feel like an overgrown dinky-car but it can get you from point A to B in decent time, provided that point B is less than 80 kms away. And it is possible to get an air-conditioned battery-powered car, with alloy wheels and Michelin tyres for about Rs 4 lakh.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2003 16:35 IST

The Reva, India’s first electric car, might look and feel like an overgrown dinky-car but it can get you from point A to B in decent time, provided that point B is less than 80 kms away. And it is possible to get an air-conditioned battery-powered car, with alloy wheels and Michelin tyres for about Rs 4 lakh. Chetan Maini, as an engineering student in the US had led a team which developed a car to take part in the famous Australian solar car challenge. Here Maini talks about the Reva.

Why did you want to make this car?
I felt that there was a need for an affordable, economical means of urban transport that was environmentally friendly.

It must have cost a bomb to develop?
No, it did not cost all that much, and that is why my break-even point is so low (around 300 units). Many of the parts have been sourced from other production cars, and we managed to persuade some suppliers to develop some really low-cost components for us.

However, the Reva is still rather expensive, so do you think that it has become a rich person’s plaything?
No, I do not. The potential still exists. For one I do not think that we should fall under the excise bracket. We have been given concessions to sell Revas to government bodies. However, keep in mind that a full charge of the Reva consumes ten units of electricity, which at current prices is about Rs 30, cheaper than a litre of petrol.

Why would a family buy such a small car?
The Reva is not being positioned as a family car, nor is it being positioned as the primary car for the family. It is being positioned at people who are environmentally aware, want ease-of-driving (the Reva is automatic) inside the city.

In a city like Delhi, will the Reva work?
Most people in the city travel 50 km a day. You can charge it anywhere.

What sorts of versions do you plan to develop?
We have already developed a convertible version and newer models with enhanced range and other improvements will continue to make it to the market.

First Published: Apr 17, 2003 14:30 IST