Does the use of electric vehicles in an electricity-rich country like ours make sense? However, can we afford to buy the expensive electric cars?
Already, in a span of just a week, two electric cars were launched in the capital, the Nissan Leaf and then the Mahindra e2o, launched at Taj Tashi, on February 26. Also with the launch, a memorandum of understanding was signed, sealing the partnership between Mahindra and the government for strategic partnership to promote the usage of electric vehicles in the country.
Dr Pawan Goenka, Executive Director & President, Automotive & Farm Equipment Sectors, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd and also the Chairman, Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles Pvt. Ltd said that it is a matter of pride for an Indian company to be associated with Bhutan in such an important initiative to co-create and nurture sustainable ecosystem.
He added that with the increasing fuel prices and carbon footprint, there was a need to create awareness on the benefits of the electric cars.
Chetan Maini, Chief Executive Officer of Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles Pvt. Ltd, during the press conference, said e2o is a near perfect fusion of the dramatic advancements in automotive technology, electronics and information technology.
He also added that the car offers innovative features such as the hill hold control and advance regenerative braking which will be helpful while driving in the hilly areas. “The maintenance is low for the car,” he said.
The experimentation being done in Norway under -20 degrees Celsius and also the experience on the rough areas of India, he said that it makes the product very suitable for Bhutan.
Talking about the car batteries, the CEO explained it has been shuttled from lead acid of the old Reva i to lithium ion which is four times lighter and more efficient. The e2o takes just five hours to get fully charged, and gives a mileage of 100km.The electric car can be charged at home from a 15 Ampere power socket at home.
The car can run for 150,000km on a single battery with the life span of more than seven years, but can be recycled while the 25 percent of the cars cost is comprised of the cost of the battery.
Chetan Maini also said that since December last year, four teams from the company have been in Bhutan testing the vehicles and understanding the market.
The other features include locking of the car and activating the heating systems by sending commands from the smart phones.
Upon asking if Bhutanese would be able to switch electric cars, the Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said it would be the choice of the buyers and sellers to promote electric cars in the country while the job of the government has been done by introducing the concept.
Subsidies, taxes and building the charging stations are some of the support that the government would render, besides introducing the idea of eco-friendly electric cars.
During the event, Lyonchhen said that the launch of Mahindra e2o, a zero-emission electric vehicle, marks the future of sustainable and effective transport system in Bhutan.
“Mahindra, being so well established, has showcased a vibrant leadership in sustainable transport today. I am very glad that Bhutan has had the opportunity to be a platform for showcasing electric mobility, a proven form of transport,” Lyonchhen spoke at the occasion.
“The distances are short, the energy is cheaper than the rest of the world, and we’re willing to subsidize EVs. We have the political and the public will, which translates to an outpouring support to make this electrical initiative successful. We want Bhutan to succeed and I thank Mahindra for allowing Bhutan to succeed,” Lyonchhen added.
Singye Agencies, the Mahindra representative in Bhutan, has installed a charging station at its show room in Thimphu and has also made its first sale of the car.
Available in three variants, the e2o will retail at around Nu 699,000 the premium variant will carry a price tag of Nu 799,000 and the premium variant with quick charge option costs Nu 839,000.
Mahindra Electric Vehicle has plans of introducing other models and testing them on the roads of Bhutan.