India's Mahindra REVA Wants To Sell 30,000 Electric Cars a Year
India’s Mahindra Reva electric vehicle company recently unveiled an ambitious plan to sell approximately 30,000 EVs in markets around the world within the next three to four years. The linchpin of the company’s strategy is a new factory located in the south of India, strategically positioned near the country’s IT epicenter of Bangalore. The facility is platinum-rated by the Indian Green Building Council and is dedicated solely to EV production, including the brand’s new four-passenger NXR model. Annual production will initially be set at 6,000 units, according to a report in The Hindustan Times. A full capacity of 30,000 units is scheduled for 2015 to 2016.
“We firmly believe that the automobile industry is at an inflection point that will reshape the way we own and use mobility solutions,” said Mr. Anand Mahindra, chairman and managing sirector, Mahindra Group, in a press release pertaining to the launch of the new factory. “This change is being driven by rapidly changing customer needs and dramatic advancements in automotive technologies, including the growing influence of electronics and IT in automobile products and solutions.”
Better Products = Better Sales
The company is making bold statements, consider that it has sold approximately 4,000 vehicles in the past decade. Yet Reva now has the financial backing of the sprawling $15.4 billion Mahindra corporate empire behind it. In May 2010, the Mahindra Group purchased a majority stake in the Reva Electric Car Company and set about redefining (and renaming) the brand. The changes were aimed at addressing the design and technical limitations of Reva’s original lineup of EVs.
Introduced in 2001, the two-passenger REVA—and later updated models like the REVAi and REVA L-ion—were memorable mainly for having cartoonish exteriors. Build quality and performance were extremely poor, and it wasn’t until the revised REVAi arrived that basic safety features such as disc brakes and a collapsible steering column were introduced. The largest market for the cars was (and remains) the city of London, where Reva vehicles are sold under the “G-Wiz” nameplate and are exempt from the city’s congestion charge. The car is a fairly common sight in London. The British government classifies the G-Wiz as a quadricycle, rather than a car.
The upcoming NXR variant apparently addresses concerns about range, safety and performance. For starters, the two-door, four-seat NXR looks vastly better and more car-like than previous models. There is more space inside, thanks to a backseat that has room for two adults. The quality of the interior materials is also an improvement over the company’s previous flimsy cabins. Power will be provided by a choice of lead acid or lithium ion batteries and, depending on the model, total driving range is expected to fall anywhere from 30 to 100 miles. Range-topping models will be capable of highway speeds of roughly 65 miles per hour and, because of their greater performance, the NXR will finally be subject to standard crash testing in Europe. Pricing varies widely in the more than 20 countries where Mahindra REVA is present. In India, the NXR’s base price is expected to be the equivalent of $10,000. The majority of sales are expected to come via export markets, especially Europe. Production of the NXR is expected to begin in a matter of weeks.
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