India's REVA Electric Car Co. has experienced a sales growth of 25% in the past four months due to higher fuel prices and greater awareness and acceptance among consumers for electric cars. The company was founded in 1994 and started selling its cars in May 2001. According to its website "REVA is all set to become the largest manufacturer of EVs in the world."
REVA, a two door hatchback, seating two adults and two children, is designed to be a city car. It has an onboard charger, requiring 7 hours for a full charge and 2.5 hours for an 80% charge. The full charge has a range of 80 km (48 miles) and the 80 % charge has a range of 65 km (39 miles). Top speed is 65 km/hr (39 mph). The cars are 2.6 m (8.6 ft) long and 1.3 m (4.3 ft) wide.
All three models are equipped with a 13 kw (peak) motor. Eight 6-Volt EV tubular type lead acid batteries are located under the front seat. Regenerative braking extends the range. The standard model has only basic features including tubeless tires. The REVA AC adds air conditioning and a AM/FM radio. The Classe has a remote controlled air conditioner/heater that can pre-cool the car while being charged or parked. It also is equipped with a high performance AM/FM cassette stereo, central locking, body colored bumpers, and two-tone leather seats.
The company has sold about 1,100 cars as of March 31, 2005, and forecasts sales of 1,500-2,000 cars in the next 12 months. They have expanded their sales to include the UK, Malta and Japan and have sold 250 cars in London. REVA is being test-marketed in ten countries including in Norway, Sri Lanka, the US, Ireland, and Romania. The company can produce 6,000 units a year and is planing to expand its capacity to 50,000 cars a year.
On August 26, 2005 the Business Standard reported that REVA's plans to expand production capacity by raising $15 million in private equity financing, from International Finance Cooperation and a group of Indian and oversees investors, had run into a snag when a few of the investors said they had to take a re-look at REVA. Chetan Maini, MD, REVA Electric said: "We are having to re-look at our fund raising options as some investors other than IFC are rethinking. We are in active discussions with others and we will try to tie this up at the earliest."
Good luck to REVA. This is the only EV I have seen (there are probably others) that looks at all practical and is marketed in the west. It is truly a city car with its top speed limitation. I believe it would be limited to areas where the speed limit was less than 35 mph if marketed in the US. As they say on there website, it is ideally suited for use on islands. Very limited sales in some very large metropolitan areas, but maybe a small niche. With today's gas prices, due to Katrina, more people would be thinking about a car like this.
REVA Electric Car Co., Bangalore India, company website
"Rising oil prices work well for Reva sales", Sify.com, 8/24/05
"Reva plan to raise $15 million hits speed breaker" , Business Standard, 8/26/05
Technocrati tag: electric cars