It sounds a little odd, given India’s recent electricity troubles, but a new and very green dedicated electric-car factory has opened in the country.
The plant – in Bangalore, in the south, far from the northern and eastern grid collapses – is the work of Mahindra Reva, the company formed when the giant Mahindra group gobbled up Reva Electric Car Company, which began selling the Reva electric vehicle way back in 2001.
The plant is set to produce up to 30,000 vehicles a year, Mahindra Reva said in a press release [PDF] that accompanied the opening of the plant. It didn’t say anything about the vehicle that will roll off the line there when operations begin next month, but CarTrade.com reported earlier this week on the Mahindra Reva NXR, a two-door hatchack. The report gave no price for the vehicle, but said it would “compete with the upcoming Nissan Leaf in India.”
The Leaf isn’t currently sold in India, but in a recent interview with IndianCarsBikes, Nissan’s managing director in India said “the car would do a limited run in Chennai, to assess its suitability for the Indian car market.”
Other Indian media reported that Mahindra Reva will quickly look beyond the Indian market, with plans to sell the NXR in the United Kingdom, Germany and Scandanavian countries in the next 12 to 18 months. The company, or at least its forerunner, has a history in Europe: In 2004, Reva launched the G-Wiz, a smart fortwo lookalike, in the U.K., and the car is said to be the U.K.’s best-selling electric car of all time, with some 1,200 sold in the London area.
Mahindra Reva has adopted the slogan “Future of Mobility,” and the introduction of the Bangalore factory featured a lot of talk about its green qualities.
“The new manufacturing plant is, in a way the first tangible proof point of the Future of Mobility,” the company’s chairman, Pawan Goenka, said in a statement. “This is the first purpose-built, ground-up EV plant in India, the first manufacturing plant to get Indian Green Building Council platinum rating, the first plant where cars get their first fill using solar power. In fact, this plant will consume the least amount of energy per car build, with one-third of this energy coming from solar power.”
Among the green features of the plant, in addition to the solar power, according to the company: skylights that reduce electricity consumption; 100 percent LED lighting; and onsite rain harvesting and treatment and reuse of grey water.
With the opening, the company also touted some new charging technologies, although it wasn’t clear exactly what its plans were for these. It talked about something called “Quick2Charge,” described as a charging mechanism “by which the car can be charged in 15 minutes to run 25 kms, thereby providing customers with increased convenience.” And, it said, “In order to tap and use the abundant solar energy for mobility, Mahindra Reva has designed a personal charging unit called ‘Sun2Car’ which will provide free and clean energy for the lifetime of the car, making it a very cost-effective solution.”