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Ten years down the line, EVs will be far more mainstream

Chetan Maini is the founder and CEO of Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles Private Limited. A pioneer of electric vehicles in India, Maini co-founded REVA Electric Car Company as India’s first electric car manufacturer in 1994. In 2010, Mahindra & Mahindra acquired REVA to form a new entity named Mahindra Reva. Maini was recently in Kathmandu for the launch of Mahindra e2o electric car. Sanjeev Giri of The Kathmandu Post caught up with Maini to talk about the new vehicle and the future of electric vehicles. Excerpts:

Nepal is the first international market for Mahindra e2o. Why did you choose Nepal?

I think there were a couple of reasons. One is the issue Nepal is facing in terms of energy and pollution. To me, it meant a right place for us to enter. We already had 100 plus customers who were using Reva. So we had a base and some amount of excitement. And being near from India, we thought it would be easy for us to manage the whole process.

How hopeful are you about the success of this new vehicle here?

There is a big shift in the technology as the performance, size and features of the vehicle have been revamped. I think there is also a maturity in the market where acceptance of the technology is going to be higher. Likewise, the response I have been receiving in the past few days is quite positive. We are here for a big picture in long terms and I think we will need some time to set the concept. But we see, in next four-five years, electric vehicles will have a large part. For us, it is not about just coming overnight but trying to see how we can build the brand, consumers and work with the government. We want to build an ecosystem to create a sustainable mobility solution with Kathmandu valley and beyond that.

How is e2o different from other Reva models?

There is a big shift in all the aspects — from design, styling, technology to size. It is a design for the global market. The vehicle uses next-generation lithium battery which is around three-four times lighter and has three times longer range with no maintenance. Batteries are always going to be a challenge. This battery lasts over 100,000 km, so it gives better usability. Full charge can be done in just five hours and has higher performance and power. The battery is a key area. The car has over 10 on-board computers highly sophisticated to manage the flow of energy and also to give you good level of connectivity. So you can be connected to your smartphones to use your air conditioner or your features of how much range you have. Or even if you fall short of energy, a special bottom in your phone will get you emergency energy. It also has new styling and various other exciting features.
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