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INTERVIEW WITH PRAMOD BHANDARI – MAHINDRA REVA E2O

Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles Private Limited is a pioneer of electric vehicle (EV) technologies in India which manufactures electric vehicles for customers in India and internationally. Regarded as one of the world’s most experienced EV manufacturers, the company also licenses out its electric vehicle technologies while also providing zero-emissions mobility solutions. Founded in 1994 as the REVA Electric Car Company, the company was a joint venture between the Maini Group of Bangalore and AEV LLC of USA. In May 2010, the USD 16.5 billion worth, Mahindra Group acquired a majority stake in the company, which was renamed Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles Pvt Ltd. Mahindra Reva is headquartered in Bengaluru, India.mahindrarevaTalking to Autolife Nepal, Mr. Pramod Bhandari – Manager, Agni Energy Pvt. Ltd. (the sole authorized distributors of Mahindra Reva e20 in Nepal) says, “We hope the government comes with a plan to make EV’s affordable for all”. Excerpts:

AL: How does Mahindra looks at the electric vehicle market in Nepal? What are the trends and challenges?

PB: Regardless of the circumstances (both short term and long term), we are very optimistic about the overall development of electric vehicle market in Nepal. Nepal as a market has a huge potential for EVs. Various factors such as the on-going fuel crisis, jam-packed roads, fuel prices, etc. make EVs a viable option in Nepal. However, EV market today is very small as compared to the gasoline market. Though it has been gaining momentum, it is expected to grow at a nascent phase. There is also a strong need for long term government policies and its timely implementation in the areas of subsidies and incentives.

AL: It took long for Nepali consumers to accept Electric vehicles. What according to you was the key factor which restrained Nepali consumers from buying EVs?

PB: Though EVs have gained acceptance in many countries across the world, it is still not the case in Nepal. Initially, our sales failed to meet our expectation particularly due to low public awareness and several confusions regarding the EV technology, however, consumers have now realized the importance of EVs in Nepal. Over the past few months, we have received excellent response for our e2o as more and more buyers are coming forward for enquiries.

AL: How many cars have you sold so far? Who are your target market/ consumers?

PB: We have sold more than 200 Mahindra Reva EVs in Nepal and growing. Our product appeals to a wide range of consumers, from NGOS and INGOS to Doctors and Housewives.mahindrareva1024AL: Has the current turn of events encouraged the government to provide more subsidies?

PB: For Electric Vehicles to penetrate into the mainstream and be truly successful, it will need support from the government like complete reduction of custom duties and subsidies.Though Nepal Government has provided certain incentives, it still has not helped EV adoption on a large scale because EVs are relatively expensive as compared to their gasoline counterparts. We hope the government comes with a plan to make EV’s affordable for all because only government’s support in form of subsidy will boost sales of electric cars. Also, electricity for the cars can be locally generated; hence it’s a win-win situation for both the parties.

AL: What gives the Riva e2o an upper hand amongst its rivals?

PB: Despite the odds, the Riva e2o goes 120km on full charge from a standard 220V socket. It is an innovative eco-friendly car that makes for a great city car and has what it takes to get the job done. Certain features of the car such as pre-cooling the car, lock/unlock, regenerative braking, revive function and shift to vacation mode etc. can be controlled through a smart app on your phone. Each car has a mobile SIM card with a modem built-in that connects to our servers and transmits vehicle performance data to our servers. Our service engineers receive instantaneous alerts in the event of a fault in the car and can even fix some issues ‘over-the-air’ using the telematics system.mahindrarevaapp1024Although the e2o is primarily expensive due to its technology and battery management systems, in reality the investment pays back due to its lower running costs. According to our calculations, owning the e2o approximately saves Rest 2 Lakhs per year.

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