It is not on sale in Europe yet, but I was one of the first people fortunate enough to have driven the Mahindra e2o electric car, scheduled for release in Europe in 2015.
Mahindra is not a well known brand in Europe, but is one of Asia's largest vehicle manufacturers. In 2009, in purchased electric car manufacturer, REVA. The e2o is the first electric car launched by Mahindra since the takeover of the company.
REVA are best known for producing the G-Wiz electric car that sold successfully in the mid-2000s. The e2o is a significantly larger vehicle than the G-Wiz, built in a modern factory to far higher standards than previous models. Unlike the G-Wiz, which was classified as a quadricycle, the e2o is a full four-seat electric car, complete with airbags and having undergone the same safety testing as any other car.
The car I drove was a pre-production engineering sample, but nevertheless felt remarkably complete and well-finished. The interior looked very dark, thanks to a completely black plastics and headlining, but I am told that production models will use lighter colours to give the interior a brighter feel.
Visibility around the car is excellent and the seats give much more support than the old car. Despite its compact dimensions, the interior is remarkably spacious: front and rear seat passengers have more head-room and leg-room than the similarly sized Ford Ka or Fiat 500, while there is a reasonable amount of room in the back for two adults to sit. Like the G-Wiz, luggage space is very restricted unless the rear seats are folded down.
I was only able to take the e2o for a short test run but I was impressed with its level of ride and handling. The car was much quieter than the old G-Wiz and very much more refined. Primary ride in particular was very good, with the car riding the bumps and feeling more composed than many mainstream city cars.
In terms of performance, the e2o is not designed to be a sports car and top speed is limited to around 70mph. However, the car felt nippy and had enough power to feel quick around the city.
The e2o will not be available until mid-2015 in Europe, but Mahindra are promising that the car will be competitively priced. If that happens, then the e2o deserves to be a success.
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