Mahindra has released an enhanced and more premium version of its electric car, the Reva e2o. It is called the e2o T2 and while at the surface it may not look as though any changes have been made, the company has altered a few aspects of the car.
First and foremost, this is an electric car and despite the advantages of zero emissions, diminutive size and effortless driveability, as is the case with all such cars, I always used to get a queasy feeling in my stomach thinking that I would run out of juice in the middle of nowhere and become stranded! There is actually a term that exists to define this feeling and it is aptly called "range anxiety".
Mercifully, Mahindra has addressed this issue to some extent in this new car. While its predecessor could, at best, manage to run 80 kilometres on a full charge, this new version can do 120 kilometres. The 80 km limit really used to put a leash on ones driving plans but now, seeing the remaining distance counter display a 3 digit number really does make you feel less uneasy.
While coasting or braking, energy that would normally be wasted as heat is captured and used to recharge the lithium ion batteries. You can actually see this happening in real time in the touchscreen mounted in the cars centre console. Also, due to modifications made to the electric engine, it uses power more efficiently and subsequently, the battery discharge rate is not as quick as it used to be in the older car either.
We drove this car around in both open roads and the crowded city traffic of Bangalore with the AC on medium, audio system playing and the navigation module on as well but the car was still holding its charge rather well. Driving the e2o is like driving any other automatic car. The gear selector can be slotted into D (drive), R (reverse) or N (neutral). There is not a Park option, though. There is one other position as well B (boost). This mode can be used when you need some extra power for overtaking and it really can be felt by the occupants.
Driveability is excellent as the car is not terribly large and its large windows make it easy to see out of. This car also gets an electrically assisted steering system for that added bit of convenience. Features wise, the e2o T2 has an audio system, AC, power windows and a navigation module that runs off a micro SD card. There is an app that the owner can download onto their smartphone and use it to perform functions like locking or unlocking the doors and turning the AC on or off.
Nowadays, cities like Bangalore are becoming friendlier for electric car users. Charging outlets for the Mahindra E2O can be found in lots of places like malls, Bangalore international airport, several SBI branches across the city, Mom & Me outlets and so on. Although recharging a dead battery is not as simple as filling up a tank of petrol or diesel, lots of recharging points can realistically bring down the threat of the battery going flat. Should you still manage to do get stuck, there is an option called Revive which remotely activates a reserve battery and allows you to drive to the nearest recharging point.
With the increased range, the Reva e2o can be looked at as a perfectly viable option for daily commutes and intra-city travel. It is far more spacious than the first Reva. Even at the back, we never felt like we were trapped in a goldfish bowl. However, one big gripe is that it still remains quite a bit on the expensive side. Wherever we stopped, whether it was at the lights or for a photo shoot, heads would constantly turn for a second look. Love it or hate it, this car cannot be ignored. As a verdict, we feel the Mahindra has done a commendably good job with the e2o.