Mahindra Reva E2O road test review: Power Capsule

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Mahindra Reva E2O India review (68)

The smart little Mahindra Reva E2O is an intriguing machine for the onlookers. On the road, while some do make out that it’s ‘that electrical vehicle’ from Mahindra, others simply get curious about its unorthodox looks, angular lines, and cute little form. While the earlier Reva-i (or the G-Wiz) was a pioneer of sorts, everyone knew its range and space related limitations. In its latest 4 seater avatar, the E2O has addressed both of those problems to a large extent.

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So, while in theory it all seems fine, the eco friendly tag, the cute looks, the enhanced space – how well does this EV fare in the real world? Can you actually use it for your daily commute to work? How well does it drive? Does it have enough power? How easy or difficult is it to charge it? Our minds too were as swamped with these questions as yours before we got this cute little car for a review. Over a period of the next three days, we drove this machine around the city, ferrying our friends and family around to figure how good or bad a commuter tool it was.

Now, since the E2O is an unusual machine, and since everyone has too many questions to ask about it, we decided to write this review in a question and answer format – trying to answer as many questions about the car as we could. So here goes

What does it look like in the real word?

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In one word – unusual! It stands out from the crowd, and it grabs massive attention. And the eyeballs its grabs are not just from the people who know it’s an EV, but everyone is intrigued by its angular, oddball shaped. We had some people following the car only to have a closer look at it, and comparing it with the Tata Nano on more than one occasions. Whether they understood the car or not, it had their attention.

What makes it look so different?

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Well, a small car with two doors and such an angular design is a new concept for our part of the world. Be it the tiny little squar-ish snout, the chrome-less black grille, the wraparound stretched back headlamps or the fixed glass rear window, the E2O oozes distinctiveness. It may not be the most beautifully designed car, but it most definitely is bold, and it’s different. Even from behind, the monstrous bumper with the two little reflectors, the tail lamps with their dotted grid and the grey panel below the rear windscreen are some totally distinctive elements.

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You look closely, and the E2O has plenty of details to stand it out from the crowd. Heck, even the door panels have a pronounced bulge which wouldn’t probably be a misfit on an American muscle car. And those wheel arches – they’re flared enough to put a soft roader to shame. This thing is unique in its concept, and thus the rules of normal car design don’t apply to it. It yells character and is proud of its uniqueness, whether you like it or not.

It is an expensive car for its size. Is the interior plush enough to make up for the lack of girth on the outside?

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Since you have asked about the plushness, we’ll restrict our answer only to that aspect and talk about the space at a later point. The interior has its high and low points, but in general, it’s been put together well. If you are a Gizmo-freak, you’ll love the blue backlit digital instrument console. It looks really cool, and can give some expensive cars a run for their money for its tech appeal.

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The E2O also features a Start / Stop button, with a fancy activation feature which requires you to touch the key fob to it to activate the car. Unless you do that, the car wouldn’t start.

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The audio system is a very advanced unit which, apart from playing your music via various sources can also take care of many more things. It has a heavy repository of videos on how to use the car – answering many questions that users may have. It has a GPS unit for navigation, a detailed menu for setting up your audio, a graphic displaying car’s remaining charge and range, and a button for REVIVE function, which gives you about 10km extra when your car is has run out of charge.

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The seats up front and at the rear are of average quality, and so is the dashboard which shares some of its bits from the Verito / Vibe. The four spoke steering wheel is unique to the E2O. The use of chrome in minimal inside the cabin, only on the door handles. The materials used are not of any exceptional quality, but they look decent enough and have been put together well. The doors feel light while being opened and shut, but that’s because they are made of a polycarbonate material and not steel for keeping the weight down.

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You omitted the space bit. Let’s talk about it now.

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The E2O is a two door car, so the space at the backseat is a tad lesser than a full blown four door hatch. It’s also a narrow car, and meant strictly for four passengers. Trying to fit in a third passenger in the backseat would be more than a squeeze. However, taking into consideration the two-door configuration, the legroom on the backseat comes as a pleasant surprise. It’s not as cramped as one would imagine, and the space is good enough for a medium built person to sit in comfort without having to brush his knees with the backrest of the front seat. For short distances, if someone complains about the space, you should know that he’s cribbing for no reason.

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Another highlight of the E2O’s seating configuration is the ease with which the front seat slides and drops to make way for the rear occupants. There’s a little lever at the aft end of the thigh support of the front seats, which facilitates single-handed operation to slide the seat forward and drop it to open an ingress area. It’s really easy, and even little kids can do it.

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Headroom is not a problem. The window glass is slightly tinted though, and the fact that the rear window is fixed, and cannot be opened will cause some trouble for those who get uncomfortable in closed spaces. The window sill is a little high too.

Front seats are comfortable, and don’t leave you with anything to complain about. The airiness is much better at the front seats. There are no map pockets in the front door panels, but Mahindra have managed to carve a hollow slot in the panels with an elastic rope to hold a bottle in place. There is also a cup holder between the front seats.

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The E2O also has a small boot which can accommodate your groceries, or two small suitcases. It’s pretty small, so don’t expect much here. It’s meant strictly for small to very small luggage items.

Overall, the E2O offers appreciable space for a two-door electric vehicle. Keeping in mind the fact that it would primarily used for short distance run within the city, the E2O should not have any problem ferrying four people around the city.

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Can you explain the features and lacunae via pictures

Sure, here we have some of the images of important details with captions

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The plastic panel below the rear windshield is bonded with an adhesive to the glass. In our case, it came loose and fell off after enduring the jerky Mumbai roads for a day

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The tail-lamp cluster looks nice with its LED grid

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Boot is small, and can accommodate a few haversacks or two small suitcases only

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Wheel replacement tools are provided behind the back bench

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Charging point is covered to facilitate charging even in an open parking during rains. The car won’t when it is being charged as a safety feature.

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The rear windshield and the bonded panel open up to allow access to the boot.

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Window buttons are placed between the front seats

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A/C is not automatic, but offers good cooling with enough functionality

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Hankook tyres with low rolling resistance for better efficiency come as standard

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Projector headlamps are a great feature for such a small car

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USB-in slot and 12V power outlet under the center console

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Under the front bonnet you have the stepney and jack. Those bolts getting rusted in not a pretty sight

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There is a little cavity in the front door for a water bottle.

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The menus on the center console screen are some of the most comprehensive we have seen on any car. The car has a repository of videos and help articles to help customers understand all the functions better

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Front seat can be easily moved fore and aft with single hand.

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Does it accelerate fast enough?

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Activate the car with the key fob, and you’re ready to move. There is no sound, no rattle, no purring – the e20 would go about its business without making as much as a squeak. It’s an automatic, so you don’t have the hassle of shifting gears either. The drive selector lever on the E2O is different from you normal automatic. Unlike the PRNDL markings on a normal automatic, this one has RNFB marked on the drive selector. R is for reverse, N is for Neutral, F is for forward, and B is for boost. In Boost mode, the car accelerates with a little more zing. Top speed is 81 km/h – fast enough for the city.

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While the idea of an EV may make you think that it would be sluggish, but we’re glad to announce here that the E2O breaks these conceptions with authority within the city. The acceleration from the 3 phase induction motor is reassuring to say the least. While the 25.8 PS of peak power is produced at 3750 rpm, the 53Nm of solid torque is available right from the word go at 0 rpm, and all the way up to 3400 rpm. This makes the E2O feel particularly peppy and confident even when it’s loaded with people.

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While we cannot compare the acceleration of the E2O with the zest of a proper IC propelled car, it has enough spunk to keep you abreast with rest of the cars in traffic. You’ll notice the difference only when you gun it on an open stretch where the outright acceleration is not all that great, but part throttle response is strong, and at slow to medium speeds you wouldn’t find it difficult to keep up with traffic or even overtake.

What about handling and braking? Can the E2O corner?

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Now you’re asking for too much. The E20 is a city slicker, more of a utilitarian machine, which is meant to take people from point A to B, without contaminating the environment and at a very low operational cost. If you want a car that carves corners, and takes you up a hill in the shortest time possible, you should probably be looking elsewhere.

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Even with all its eco-friendly credentials, the zing and pep in its acceleration, the hi-end features and the space inside, the E2O isn’t quite a driver’s delight. It’s a city runabout, and your expectations shouldn’t exceed that definition. The steering is not power assisted, yet vague at speed, the soft suspension makes the body wallow when you steer hard and sudden change is directions unnerve the machine. Braking too isn’t anything much to write home about.

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The Reva E2O is at home being driven at moderate speeds. If you try to hold it by its neck and squeeze the life out of it, you’d be doing it at your own peril. Being a functional tool this car is not made to handle those extremities.

How long does it take to charge the batteries?

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A five hour charge should be enough to brim the batteries with power. When we drove the E2O, we recharged it when it was at 20% charge, after four hours, it was at 98% percent. You will need a 15 AMP socket to charge it though. Don’t expect it to be charged by your more commonly found 5 Amp socket. We had a tough time finding such a 15 AMP socket to charge it, so make sure that you have located such a power outlet before you drive this baby in.

What is the warranty period for the batteries?

Batteries come with a Standard warranty of 3 Years or 60,000 Km – whichever is earlier. Mahindra claims that these batteries can last for as much as 5 years or more. However they also say that this purely depends on driving habits and usage.

What is the service interval, and what are the costs involved?

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The first service is at 10,000 km or 1 year, followed by 20,000 km or 2 years and 30,000 km or 3 years. A regular paid service will cost you Rs 1,500 to 2,000, which is paid towards labour and consumables.

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What is the range of the car? Is the specified range and the real world range the same?

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The specified range for the E2O is 100 km. Of course, the real world range isn’t exactly the same, as it depends on your driving style, the gradient and the use of A/C. However, when driven in moderation on a fairly open road, the E2O can deliver you a real world range which is really close to the claimed range.

I have heard the Reva E2O comes with a smart phone application. Is it a gimmick or can I really do something with it?

E2O smartphone

The Reva smart phone application is really a very useful app. You can remotely turn the A/C of your car on for some time to make sure you find the interior cooled when you enter it. You can also schedule the A/C or heater on or off as per your requirements.

Based on your location, you are shown a range on the map using GPS indicating a green and a red area. The area marked by the green circle is the distance which you can cover and get back to the starting point without a charge. The area covered by the red circle indicates the total distance which can be covered, but you’ll require a recharge thereafter.

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You can also lock / unlock the car, turn on / off charging, schedule your service, locate dealerships and find the nearest charging stations. You can also activate the REVIVE application for extra charge using your smart phone. There is also a vacation mode which can be activated using your smart phone. In this mode, you can leave your car on charge permanently to prevent it from getting discharged. The batteries will get fully charged, and will stop charging thereafter. When the charge drops to 98% percent, the batteries will start charging again. This will save you electricity costs.

Talking of electricity costs, how much does the Reva E2O cost to run?

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The Reva takes about 10 units (KwH) of power for a full charge. Now depending on the power tariff in your area, it may costs you anywhere from Rs 40 to Rs 60 for 100 km. So on an average, you would be spending about 50 paise per km to run the E2O. That’s half the money you pay to run a 100cc bike.

At the current rates, we are paying about Rs 6 per km to run our petrol powered small cars. Using that equation, the E2O turns out 12 times cheaper to run than a small petrol car. This can spell big savings if you use your car for local runs a lot.

What are the variants the E2O is available in and what is are the differences between them?

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The E2O is available in two variants – T0 and T2. The technology, the mechanicals, the design and everything is same for the two. The T2 variant has some additional features over the T0 – listed below

•    Reverse parking camera
•    JBL music system with 4 Speakers & 2 tweeters
•    Smartphone application Infotainment System
•    CD/DVD/MP3 AUX/USB/Micro SD ports
•    Bluetooth
•    iPod Connectivity

Does the E2O consume energy when at a standstill, say, while stuck in a jam?

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The E2O draws power from the battery only when you press the accelerator. You don’t even need to switch off the ignition to save power. The only consumption is the AC and the music system which is also very nominal.

What are the colour options available?

There are six exciting colour options for E2O
1. Arctic Silver
2. Coral Blue
3. Eco Green
4. Ocean White
5. Spanish Red
6. Sunfire Yellow

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What is the price of the E2O?

Mahindra E2O T0 is available for 6.45 lakh ex-showroom Delhi
Mahindra  E2O T2 is available for 6.75 lah ex-showroom Delhi

Tech Specs

Type: Two door hatchback
Seating Capacity: Four adults
Motor: 3 Phase Induction Motor
Power: 19 kW @ 3750 rpm
Torque: 53 N-m @ (0-3400 rpm)
Battery: 48V maintenance-free Lithium-ion
Steering Mechanism: Rack & Pinion
Transmission: Fully Automatic
Suspension:
Front MacPherson strut – Gas filled Suspension:
Rear Gas filled shock absorber with coil springs.
Brake: Front Disc: 215 mm
Brake: Rear Drum: 180mm Tyre (Front & Rear) 155 / 70 R 13 Tubeless Low Resistance
Dimensions: Length x Width x Height 3280 mm x 1514 mm x 1560 mm
Wheelbase: 1958 mm
Ground Clearance: 180 mm
Turning Radius: 3.9 M
Kerb Weight: 830 kg
Body Panels & Bumpers: Color Impregnated and Dent resistance body panel
Frame/Chassis: Welded Tubular structure & 3-crumple zones complying to European safety norms Performance: Top Speed 81 kmph
Range 100 km in one full charge under test conditions
Charging time 5 hours to full charge; 1 hr for 20 km range from a standard 220V 15 A socket

Mahindra Reva E2O Image Gallery

E2O smartphone
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Mahindra Reva e2o Premium Variant Launched
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  • vikram says:

    Do you recommend this car ?
    Will it really be able to replace a petrol car for short ranges ofcourse ??