Car Specification

18 March 2013

Mahindra e2o review

Mahindra Reva’s e2o gives a solution to the ever-rising fuel costs, rising temperatures and melting icebergs. And we’ve driven it

Agasti Kaulgi
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Are you still debating whether you should get a diesel or a petrol hatchback for your daily city commute? Hold on, a battery-powered car is on its way to give you a break from the ever-rising fuel costs.

You might have a faint memory of a tiny little electric car pottering through the narrow streets of your city. It was called the Reva. After a few years of its spree, there was an update and it was called the Reva i. Now, the same guys have come up with another electric car, calling it the e2o (E two oh!). The e2o is longer and wider than the Reva and has updated machinery to power it. It’s made in Mahindra Reva’s state-of-the-art facility just off Bangalore.

A lithium-ion battery powers the e2o and it can go a hundred kilometres before needing a plug point to charge. The range goes down to about 85km if you want to drive it in an air-conditioned cabin. And after it's done running that distance, it’ll take you only five hours to charge up the battery again. The company has installed some 'Fast Charge' charging points in Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai which allow you to charge the battery to full in just an hour.

The lithium-ion battery powers a DC motor that has a power output rating of 25.4bhp and 55Nm of torque. The motor then drives the rear wheels. If you’ve had your right foot buried right to the floor, this little thing can go up to an electronically-restricted 80kph. The motor is coupled to an automatic transmission.

Unlike what you’d expect, the car that’s meant only for city driving would have a very light steering. But no, it can’t be turned by your little finger. In fact, it doesn’t even have power-assist. But don’t worry; it’s not bad at all. There’s no engine at the front like your regular car which adds weight to the front wheels, which in turn makes the steering too tough to deal with at crawling speeds.

The ride is nice and soft and does the job of keeping the potholes away from your spine pretty well. The brakes do a great job of getting this thing to a dead halt rather excellently. It uses a combination of electric and mechanical braking to do that. And that’s not all; it even charges the battery the moment you take off your foot from the throttle.

Although the e2o has only two doors, it has enough room for four adults. And trust us, we tested that by putting two six-footers in the back seat. The boot though is just big enough for your grocery bags and a loaf of bread.

On the styling front, the e2o looks ages ahead of the Reva from up ahead. But as you move to the back, the LED taillamps fail to add flair to the otherwise bland rear-end. Inside, the e2o has a rather conventional-looking black dashboard with a two-DIN touchscreen multimedia system. What’s not conventional-looking is the instrument cluster. It gets a blue backlight and displays all the necessary info about the remaining battery per cent, distance-to-empty along with the regular speed and other info. The e2o has power windows and electric mirrors as standard but alloy wheels and leather upholstery is optional.

The body panels are made of high-quality colour-impregnated plastic. Don’t be hassled reading that; it is way tougher and scratch-resistant than the plastic that you deal with everyday. The fit and finish is decent but you will find some uneven panel gaps on the outside.

The e2o will set you back by Rs 5.96 lakh (on-road, Delhi) with subsidy that the Delhi government gives to electric cars. That’s not exactly cheap for a tiny hatchback but it’ll not demand a tank full of fossil fuel every 500km. Once you get this, forget about the emission norms and the carbon dioxide that it’ll give out.  And this one is not going to melt those arctic icebergs and warm up the planet.

The numbers
Electric DC motor, 25.4bhp, 55Nm, RWD, Top speed – 80kph, Range – 100km without AC, 85km with AC, Kerb weight – 850kg, Rs 5.96 lakh (on-road, Delhi)

The verdict
An affordable electric car that promises an eco-friendly drive through the neighbourhood without worrying about fuel prices.

Tags: e20, mahindra reva, reva, mahindra, e2o

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