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Monday, Feb 18, 2002

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Maker of electric car seeks support

Our Bureau

CHENNAI, Feb. 17

REVA, the first electric passenger car launched in mid-2001, is looking for support from the Government and the corporate sector to make the concept of electric vehicles a success in the country.

Speaking at the Green Power 2002 conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Mr Sandeep Maini, Director of Maini group - the manufacturers of Reva - said that the Central Government should step in with supportive policy measures to popularise electric vehicles.

While the Centre had reduced the import duty on compressed natural gas kits to five per cent, the components required for electric vehicles bear a duty of 35 per cent.

Similarly, electric vehicles could get support in the form of subsidies in road tax and sales tax, and reduction in excise duty.

Since the vehicle can handle congested city roads and stop-and-go traffic without either air or noise pollution, city administrations can earmark congested areas that are open only electric vehicles, he said.

According to Mr Maini, corporates could encourage their employees to purchase Reva since it is eligible for 100 per cent depreciation in the first year itself.

Thus, while the vehicle costs Rs 2.49 lakh, if purchased by a corporate the cost to the employee could be limited to Rs 1.85 lakh. The rest can be claimed as depreciation by the company.

Mr Maini said that Reva had sold 150 units since its launch. It has been launched only in Bangalore so far.

With a battery life of five years, the vehicle gives 80 km to a recharge and can reach up to speeds of 60-65 km per hour.

According to Mr Maini, 30 per cent of the customers have purchased this car as their second car. "The vehicle has a very low running cost, a fraction of the running costs for the conventional cars."

He also said that electric vehicles like Reva are appropriate for city commuting because they cause no air or noise pollution, can reduce dependence on imported oil supplies and account for low operating and maintenance costs.

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