So, are the electrics cars for the masses finally here? Over the last decade or two they have been touted as the next big shift for the auto industry, but somehow their adoption has been delayed by several years both in India and overseas because conventional petrol/diesel cars have gotten more fuel-efficient and also because the discovery of new sources of oil/gas have contained fuel prices to an extent.
Globally, a few companies have tried and seen some success with alternative options—Toyota’s Prius hybrid is popular in Japan and the US, Nissan has launched the Leaf electric, Chevrolet has the Volt hybrid, Tesla has launched electric sports cars, and BMW has started a whole new ‘i’ series for electrics/hybrids.
At home, however, we only have Mahindra today to hold up the technology flag.
The only electric car available in the country today is the Mahindra e2o, a futuristic looking two-door hatch with a plastic body that packs lots of tech goodies, promises very low running costs, while giving you the green credentials in abundance.
But is the e2o that complete a car for Indian cities—we understand that for any new technology, there are bound to be many questions, so we spend a few days with the e2o to find the answers.
What is it like to use the e2o everyday? Well, living with an electric car needs a bit of re-thinking in the concept of car ownership, if you have been used to conventional cars. For one, it is very silent because the electric motor has very few moving parts. So, there are hardly any vibrations and you have to be careful to realise when you’re in gear. There is also the range limit of 100 km and daily charging that you will have to get used to.
You’ll be surprised, but the e2o evinces plenty of admiration—I got a thumbs-up from a few college kids on a drive, while the unconventional Dilip Chhabria-designed exterior also gets plenty of responses. It is a four-seater but it has only two doors (the front seats can be folded for access to the rear)—this can be a problem for families.
Is the limited range a major worry? Only in the mind. Range is not really a worry for the daily drive because most city drivers going to and from work every day do not drive over 100 km. But then again, the e2o can only be a second car because