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Indian EV, Mahindra E2O – Can the Power Grid Handle It?

The New Mahindra e2o Electric Vehicle
The New Mahindra e2o Electric Vehicle

In a recent press release, Mahindra REVA announced the release of a new electric vehicle [EV] to be called the E2O. The new mini-car expects to have a 62-mile range, the perfect combination of size and range for city driving. Additionally, it can charge on any 15A standard socket in the country, as well as, I’m guessing, some sort of solar system referred to as “Sun2Car.” The Mahindra REVA partnership has only sold some 2,500 REVA EVs since 1994, and with this new model, is hoping to hit 30,000 vehicles per year, out of their manufacturing plant in Bangalore.

This is great news for the EV market, a small and safe EV for the city that produces no emissions. In most advanced nations, drivers are put off by the “limited” range and “excessive” charging times, but something that never really comes up is whether or not there is enough power. In the US or EU, flip the switch, and you never question if the power is on. If something doesn’t work, it’s most likely not the power grid that’s the problem.

Having lived here in Perú for the last six months, I’ve learned that the power grid here is fairly new and underpowered, power outages a common occurrence, sometimes lasting for hours. India’s power grid may be in even worse shape, and adding EVs to the grid might even strain the already-overloaded power grid.

For instance, in May 2012, there was a 40% drop in power supply in the Indian state of Tamil Dadu. A couple of months later over half a billion people, or about half the population, were without power for two days due to bad power-management policies.

Electric vehicles are certainly the cleanest form of transportation that we can come up with, but without a reliable power grid, are essentially worthless. Independent solar installations could help make the the Mahindra E2O a viable alternative, but who’s to say that this wouldn’t put it out of reach of practically everyone considering them.

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