- Should they concentrate on the 2 wheeler market?
- Should they concentrate on the 3 wheeler (Rickshaw) market?
- Should they concentrate on the small car market?
- Should they concentrate on the SUV segment of the market?
- Should they concentrate on the commercial vehicle cargo-van, Mini-Bus segment?
- Should they concentrate on the Bus segment?
- Should they concentrate on the Boat and Sea Sports segment?
- Should they concentrate on the Drone Segment?
One of the major problem of an electric vehicle is that its performance deteriorate as the carrying capacity increases. So if a car is carrying 2 passengers and travels 100km then the same car carrying 4 passengers will travel.... say... only 80 km, and if the number of passengers increases to six then most probably the car will only be able to travel 50 Km. While with a petrol car the only effect will be reduced mileage.
So I guess they try to keep the size of the car small.
The price of battery will fluctuate depending upon the battery technology that comes in. So there is not much scope on working on the price of the battery so that leaves us with reducing the price of building the car. The Reva Plant has already used a lot of innovation to keep the cost low. But there is always room.
- Lower range (80-100kms)
- Lower carrying capacity (2 to 4 people)
- Less luggage capacity
I have always said that the electric car has to be reinvented right from the first successful model the Ford Model T. Maybe each college a group of auto engineering students can be set the challenge of making each part of the car function better at a cheaper cost and any major improvements could be paid a hefty price like Rs 1 Lakh to 10 Lakhs etc. Improvements has to be on radical issues like:
- What type of shock absorbers would be better and frugal.
- What size of wheel is the right type?
- Should the wheel have spokes or be of wood or steel?
Have we taken into consideration of the properties of wood?:
- Strong and stiff
- Absorbs vibrations
- Long fatigue life
- Do we stick to rubber wheel or try other olden type light wooden wheel or switch to something else?
How does a wood rim resist bending forces? After all, it’s a solid that, according to the previous evidence, makes an arguably inefficient structure. Wood is much lighter than metals or composites, and this low density is what it leverages as a wheel rim.
- carbon fiber = 1.7
- aluminum = 2.7
- wood (beech) = 0.7
Because wood is so light, its resistance to bending is necessarily less than metals. Compared to the other materials, wood needs more frequent spoke support. So, we use traditional spoke numbers like 32 and 36 per wheel. In fact, wood’s long reign as premier high performance rim is a major reason for these particular spoke counts. Even three decades after switching to aluminum alloys wheel makers retained these numbers. In the face of aerodynamic evidence, spoke numbers have come down dramatically. However, research shows that the wind resistance of larger spoke numbers only becomes a liability at high speeds rare outside of competition.
So, given more spoke support, what kind of wheel does this solid but very light material make? First, the lower spoke tensions that wood prefers allow it to move around more. This additional degree of motion allows it to absorb shock, to attenuate the vibrations of the road; the same as a lower pressure tire. But the actual deflection of a wood rim during riding is tiny, so the bicycle’s quickness is not impaired. What seems to disappear are the higher frequency vibrations of pavement that can tire the body over time and make joints ache. An aluminum rim, built to lower tension, would also move around. Unfortunately, aluminum does not absorb energy to the degree of other materials like steel, wood or composites. So the comfort benefit would be small.
In addition to shock absorption, wood is harder to dent. Its low density means that a pot hole will create only local damage: a nick rather than a generalized dent that might interfere with braking. So, wood rims are legendary for resisting dents; a valuable asset in a world of poorly paved roads. One further advantage is the heat resistance of wood. Rim braking dumps large amounts of heat into the brake caliper and rim, in order to slow the vehicle. Aluminum rims eagerly accept this heat which, when excessive, can melt the tire or tire cement, causing failures. Wood rims refuse to accept this heat preferring, instead, to burn superficially at their surface. A wood rim pushed to braking extremes will create a barely detectable burning odor, but its tires remain cool.
- Ground Clearance should be around 200mm- I feel very strongly about this. So that even with lower aerodynamics the sedan car can move over potholes, speed breakers and unpaved village roads.
- Should we keep the chassis exactly same for all platforms ? – Sedan, SUV, Commercial – I feel very strongly about this too. I don't know maybe I am wrong. But I feel The Chassis should be kept common like that of a Nissan NV 200 and it should have a ground clearance of around 200mm. Then the Car can be fitted as a 2 Seater Pickup Truck, 4 Seater Sedan car, put 4 motors on each wheel and make it a 4x4 SUV either a 4 seater, 6 seater or 9 Seater SUV and last option remains of offering it as a cargo van. SUVs can be given extra 80mm ground clearance.
electric car or an electric bike?
Which should come first? The hen or the egg?
Let me for a brief moment divide the world into markets as I see it. :
- North America + Middle East – Big Car Market – It is predominantly a luxury Car market especially SUV or large car market. Small cars form only a fraction of the market. In GCC only the laborers and delivery staff drive cars like Alto. And there is no point selling manual cars here almost nobody here buys manual transmission vehicles.
- Australia + Europe – Small car market – Europe as a whole is moving away from the car and moving towards the clean 2 wheeler (cycle or electric) segment. But Electric cars do have government support and are welcomed.
- Rest of the World (Africa +China+South East Asian Countries+ IPBSN Countries) Most densely populated countries. Major Bike Market. Together they makes up almost 75 to 80% of world population. Most of the Governments of these countries are corrupt and not interested in implementing Electric Vehicles. Whatever EV penetration happens is in fact a miracle.
Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, and Vietnam;
IPBNS = India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Srilanka
I would even dare to say that if you can sell EV bike in this market you have the capability to dominate
the World EV market.
This region can be considered a major Bike Market more than a car market. These can be called as the developing countries. Among them bike production and sales are dominated in India & China. India generally creating better quality bikes than China. These are also countries other than Middle East that have higher temperatures and humidity as they are nearer to the Equator. These conditions favour the electric bikes & Lead Acid Battery more than cars & Li-Ion Battery. Bikes require smaller battery and even LA Batteries can be removed and carried by hand indoors not only to charge but also to avoid the heat outdoors. Most of the potential customers in these countries find the price of Mahindra e2o electric car too expensive and ranging in the luxury car segment. To expect EV Cars (5 Lakh and above) to sell heavily in this sector is a little optimistic... unless of course the cost of petrol increases sharply! EV Car sales can only be targeted to be bought by the richer part of the population of these countries.
In terms of numbers produced, bikes have pulled clear of cars by some distance since WWII. By 1950, world bike production stood at around 11 million, and car production at about 8 million. Since then, bikes have gained a huge margin, with more than 130 million now produced annually compared to roughly 52 million cars.
Even if you deduct the 25 million or so electric bike sales from the annual figures, that's still a clear 2:1 ratio in favour of bikes.
The two-wheeler market in India is quite big in volume. But at over 10 million units per annum, India's motorcycle market is over three times the size of scooters.
What about Cycles? Are not Bicycles a completely different mode of transport? Yes if you think "Petrol" and NO if you think "Electric". Because the ease of use and similarity is almost the same.
The platform of Electric Trike can be enhanced with a little bit of elongating the bike adding extra seat and it already has extra space to double up as battery holding space. It also have serious luggage space.
Trike is an excellent platform for young & old...it has excellent stability and tons of luggage space too!
Cause with the going rate for Li-Ion batteries it will be a few more years for the prices to come down and at the present prices it is only the richer guys who can own electric cars. Electric cars do not make much sense to richer guys. Why? How does it really matter to a rich guy if he is able to travel 100 km at Rs 5?
But it would matter a great deal, great, great deal to a startup business man, or to that clerk, or to that milkman or to that newspaper delivery boy and a million such people around the world who can travel 100km at only Rs 5? In 10 yrs time the same vehicle will be using much improved battery technology to travel around 600 kms on single charge. This would make travel almost free. And if any company can do it in the world at a very frugal cost, great quality and with a really powerful bike I have no doubt that the combination of Chetan Maini & Mahindra Reva can do it.
Thus I will rest my case by saying that the development of a good quality and economical electric bike is very important.