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Mahindra Reva On Expansion Mode

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After four years of being part of the Mahindra and Mahindra Group and having spent Rs 100 crore on capital expenditure, Reva, India's only electric car company has finally started spreading its wings. For starters, it has begun setting up charging infrastructure for its electric vehicles. It has now set up close to 110 charging points in Bangalore alone, where almost 1,200 electric Reva vehicles ply. These stations are available every 5 kilometres in the city.

Apart from announcing their re-entry into Europe by the the end of the year, the company is also introducing fast charging stations to benefit customers. These charging units are seven feet tall and three feet wide packed with a 15kw three phase power box which offers, the customer four charging options. Customers can charge for 15 minutes for a 25 kilometre range and  this doubles for every 15 minutes in addition.

While 80 per cent of the charging stations are free, these quick charge boxes in particular will have to be paid for. On an average, Reva cars take 5 hours to be prepped for a 100 kilometres ride. But these QuickCharge stations can charge the car in an hour. This will mean paying less than Rs 150 to travel 100 km as against paying Rs 500 for diesel or Rs 600 for petrol to travel the same distance. Based on such economies of scale, Mahindra Reva hopes to set these units in food courts across highways near major cities, where people travel not more than 200 kilometres for a weekend getaway. Chetan Maini, chief of technology at Mahindra Reva, believes people can relax over a cup of coffee or a meal while the car batteries come back to life. However, these expansion plans and the cost to the customer are yet to be revealed by M&M.

"There has to be public private partnerships to expand electric vehicle infrastructure," says Maini, He says that once these stations become a large network, then customers could either pay online or through their apps in the phone for charging their vehicle. Currently, all the charging units are installed by Reva.

To increase the sales of the E2O hatchback in India, Reva has now taken the cost of the battery out of the on-road price. This reduces the cost of the base version of the car to an on-road price of about Rs 5.40 lakh. The battery cost of Rs 2,600 will be paid on a monthly basis by the owner for five years and is an interest-free lease model.

M&M plans to take Reva technology global and will relaunch in London after a two year absence in October 2014. It is also aggressively working on a electric sports coupe called the Halo, which will be out in England by 2016.