Image credit: REVA Electric Car Company
REVA Electric Car Company, the Indian outfit known for its affordable yet somewhat limited urban electric vehicles, is taking a step into more serious automotive territory. REVA's main vehicle, which is marketed as the G-Wiz in the UK, has undoubtedly become somewhat of a success on the streets of London and other cities. But it has also been trashed by the BBC's Jeremy Clarkson, and the G-Wiz's crash test performance leaves a lot to be desired (classified by the authorities as a quadricycle in the UK, it is currently exempt from crash test regulations for cars). So it will be interesting to see what the world makes of the REVA NXR and NXG - two real electric cars that, apparently, even include a "virtual" charging device that the makers claim will mean you never get stuck without charge again - though it's unclear what that actually means. According to the press release, on Wednesday 16th September REVA will reveal two new cars at the 63rd Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA). The REVA NXR (pictured) is a four-seat, three-door hatchback family car suitable for urban driving that can be ordered at the show, with production scheduled to commence at the beginning of 2010. The showcar, REVA's model for 2011, is the REVA NXG; a sporty two-seater with a targa roof that was designed by Dilip Chhabria of the internationally renowned automotive design company DC Design.
Most of the technical details and pricing look set to be announced at the show, but REVA are also boasting a brand new device in both cars that they claim will combat "range anxiety". Known as "REVive", the technology is described as acting "like an invisible reserve fuel tank". The customer just has to telephone or SMS REVA for an instant remote recharge should they run out of charge.
Now we've seen "remote charging", or induction charging of Nissan's Electric Car
, but that was over a scale of a few inches. Unless I am very much mistaken (and it has been known!), a dial up recharge is almost certainly just activating a reserve battery that is sitting somewhere in the car anyway. Or can someone tell me otherwise? On that front, I'd personally rather have the keys to the kingdom and be able to judge my own charge and range - without calling REVA for an emergency refill. A "hidden fuel tank" just seems a little gimmicky to me.
But virtual charging or not, it's nice to see REVA stepping up to some more grownup models. With the company building a 30,000 units per annum manufacturing plant, these might start rolling out in serious numbers soon. Watch this space.