Mahindra & Mahindra have revealed the e20 in India, an all-electric, four-seat ultra-compact car, sporting a "minimum" 62-mile range from a single charge of its lithium ion batteries. It's reportedly the country's only all-electric passenger car and costs Rs 596,000 ($11,000 after state subsidies). It can also gain charge from sunshine using M&M's "Sun2Car" system.
The car comes from the Reva Electric Car Company, which M&M bought in 2010, and M&M says it plans to extend the technology in the e20 to two-seat cars in the future. To support the electric vehicles, M&M has set up over 250 charging stations in different cities, 95 in Delhi alone.
In 2009 it was revealed that Riva and GM were investing in designing a small electric car for India's roads, based partly on GM's Spark mini car. It's not known whether M&M is planning on bringing its innovation overseas to markets in the U.S. or EU, but it is conceivable that companies like GM may view the e20 as a test case for small ultra-cheap electric cars in their own markets. Previous U.S.-Mahindra relationships have gone sour, though, with allegations from Buick and Toyota dealers that Mahindra swindled millions of dollars in cash and a hundred million dollars worth of trade secrets.
Could a tiny electric car like this challenge the gas-glugging giant cars on U.S. roads--or is its real innovation its incredibly low price?