Think electric is the signal from this zany little car, called the G-Wiz in the UK, and the Reva in the rest of the world. This electric car from India has been around longer than the Think City, and has been more successful in its marketing. The Reva also uses the web to take orders for customized cars—that's right, you can decide what color/s or shape you want the Reva in!
The REVA Electric Car Company Private Ltd. (RECC), based in Bangalore, India, was established in 1994 as a joint venture between the Maini Group India and Amerigon Electric Vehicles, California USA, to manufacture environment-friendly and cost-effective electric vehicles.
Seven years of painstaking research and development earned the RECC recognition in the form of 10 patents and a globally accepted product. REVA, India's first zero polluting Electric Vehicle for city mobility, was commercialized in June 2001.
The early Reva suffered from many drawbacks: weak battery, low speed, shoddy construction, low range, and little safety. Jeremy Clarkson slamed the Reva in his Top Gear show....still not clear which model he tested but the video was funny:
But check this letter in response to Jeremy's give-me-more-gas-guzzling cars diatribe:
It's a four minute skit involving an all electric Reva, a vehicle that allows thousands of Brits to make their daily commute without need to wash their hands of Iraqi blood. I'm no automotive expert, yet I picked up the following errors in Clarkson's video:
The car runs out of juice - so why didn't they charge the car, which has an 80km range?
Clarkson asserts "you can't stop because that would wear the battery down". Actually it's the opposite. The new Reva-NXG has regenerative braking, meaning when you brake or go down hill, you put energy back into the battery. It's the very reason I love my Prius, and why every other car I've driven since seems so recklessly wasteful with fuel.
Then in 2005, the electric car manufacturers came out with the Reva NXG (next generation) launched at the 21st International Electric Vehicle Symposium in Monaco:
The Reva NXG had a longer driving range (80 km), a higher top speed (64 kph), and took six hours to charge its 37kW/220Nm sodium nickel chloride batteries. The car had a "wireless tablet" dashboard.....an embedded computer based on Mobilius having a touch screen display showing all essential information about the car like speed, mileage etc. It also doubles up as a GPS navigation system and an MP3 player with internet access.
But the prospect of running all this on DC power was still holding back car sales. From 2001 all versions of the Reva had only managed to sell 2500 units. In 2006 the Indian company received an investment of $20million from Draper Fisher Jurveston (DFJ) and Global Environment Fund (GEF). In 2007 the Reva Greeny AC1, came out with an AC motor, which further improved its speed, and power.
The manufacturers engage in clever marketing to sell their product. First calling it G-Wiz in the UK, a catchy name, then after criticism of its low capacity came out with this photo:
Shows how two adults and their kids can fit inside the Reva....eat your words Jeremy! In fact the car is meant for city driving, at low speeds (12 kph in London), which makes it ideal for urban families as the letter from Mr. Carl Sparre showed.
Some other marketing ploys are selling the car in niche markets. For example the postal service in the Kerala region of India. Kerala Postal Service signed an agreement with REVA electric car company recently. As per the agreement RECC will provide 3 customized electric cars, which will be used to collect and deliver speed post items.
IT peripherals company, WeP Peripherals, will now use Reva cars as mobile service centres which would cater to its existing customers and also provide information to the commonman wanting to buy WeP's products.
Then the agreement with the Spanish supermarket chain Veritas, which acquired the Reva to equip its fleet for business visits in its outlets. Reva is the first complete electric vehicle entering the Spanish market. It's main features are that it does not emit CO2 and that it does not generate noise pollution. The car is designed for city use and has a range of about 70 miles. One of its greatest advantages is its low cost of maintenance, 40% less than that of a gasoline or diesel car. The Reva costs about 12,000 euros. It was introduced in 2001 and is sold to the UK, Italy, Greece, Malta, Cyprus and Sri Lanka so far.
About 500 cars have been ordered this month by the British company, Going Green Plc.
On the question of safety read electric mobility:
Safety - working with LOTUS , Reva Electric Car Company have introduced a new independently crash tested* quadricycle safety package for the 2008 REVAi featuring increased front and side impact protection, a strengthened space frame, a collapsible steering column, a hill rolling restraint feature, plus new front disc brakes that deliver a 30% improvement in performance.
*Quadricycles are regulated primarily by weight and power output (400 kg without batteries and 15kW respectively) and not required to be crash tested under UK and EU law. The 2008 REVA i has been independently voluntary frontal crash tested for city speed driving conditions at 25 mph (average speed in London is12 mph ) by ARAI (the Automotive Research Association of India) following the addition of the LOTUS assisted safety package, an optional extra that all REVAi models can be fitted with.
However certain countries like Australia, have refused to register the Reva, by classifying it as a car and not a quadricycle.
The latest news is that the Reva Electric Car Company plans to roll out a new vehicle every year.
Chetan Maini, deputy chairman and chief technology officer of Reva, told The Telegraph, “We will launch one vehicle and one variant every year. By the end of 2008, we will introduce another electric car with more advanced features”.
The Bangalore-based company has a plant in Bommasandra, which has a capacity of 6,000 units. Reva is expanding this capacity to 30,000 by the middle of this year to meet the increased demand in foreign markets as well as to tap the potential in the domestic market. “Of the 30,000 cars, we expect to sell about 15,000-20,000 units in India alone while the rest will be sold overseas,” said Maini.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Posted by Chrissy at 5:16 PM