Frankfurt: Car maker Reva unveiled two electric cars at the Frankfurt motor show this week and announced the launch of one model in Europe in early 2010 as the buzz for electric vehicles grows louder.
In its first major presence at the German show, Reva presented the NXR city car that is to be built at a new plant in Bangalore and will retail for less than €10,000 ($14,700) for a city driving model.
A two-seater NXG coupe that was shown here as a prototype is due to follow in 2011, the company said on Wednesday.
Reva co-founder Chetan Maini said electric cars, which were a major feature of the fair, had come of age.
“We are for the first time seeing everything come together, the technology and people’s concerns about the environment,” he told AFP in an interview.
“The world cannot afford conventional cars anymore.”
A surge in global oil prices last year had helped raise people’s consciousness, he added.
“Five years ago I don’t think people were thinking about electric cars,” said Maini, Reva’s deputy chairman and chief technical officer.
When consumers mull a purchase now however, “they would at least consider an electric car,” Maini added.
Reva will launch its Bangalore output with capacity of 300,000 vehicles per year.
“We believe it may take us two to three years to get to full capacity but we think market potential is very high, and that’s why we are setting up that kind of capacity,” Maini said.
“There is a societal cost to pollution” that justified funding to help companies invest in infrastructure, technologies and product launches, he maintained.
“Once people use it and feel the benefits, the volumes grow and prices come down and then you don’t need support” any longer, he said. Reva, which has produced electric vehicles since 2001, claims now to have solid experience in the field.
Maini said 300,000 of its cars were already being used in 24 countries. Powered by a Lithium-ion battery, the NXR is a three-door model designed to carry up to four passengers.
It is expected to cost €15,000 ($22,000), minus the battery, which specialists note are one of the most expensive components, for an “inter-city” version.
A pure city car with less range and traditional batteries is to be offered for less than €10,000. Customers would be charged “a mobility fee” for battery rental, but they will be available for purchase as well.
The prices were noticeably higher than the $2,055 tag for the Tata Motors produced Nano, which was launched in July and is currently the cheapest car in the world.