We also saw the e-Trio, Mahindra’s electric autorickshaw. Boy, an e-Trio and an e-Treo! How does anyone keep their heads straight around that concept over here? We met Mr Mukherjee in his office, and he walked us through the company’s vision and plans before he took us on a tour of the plant.
Inside, we saw many more Wagon Rs and Dzires being retrofitted, along with the company’s own electric autorickshaw, which will be launched soon. It was sleek and perfectly designed to dart through city traffic, like a good autorickshaw should (I certainly preferred it to the bulky Bajajes we have in Bombay). There was a whole line of vintage cars inside (no, they weren’t waiting to be converted; they just belonged to one of the company heads), including the Fiat 1100, India’s very own Premier Padmini!
Who can forget taking taxi rides in the stinky back seats of these old gems? If I could convert any car into an EV, I’d choose the Padmini, unquestionably.
- Traction Controller
- DC-DC converter
- Onboard Charger
- DC Fast charger port
- Aux parts like Power Steering
- Gear Box designed by them
Add in maintenance costs for a petrol car, and you’re looking at expenses of 3,00,000 lac rupees, if not more. Six lacs doesn’t seem like such a bad amount now, does it?
Mr Mukherjee told us that the company will provide full telematics support for all its EVs. This was heartening news because few other EV companies are offering this support these days. Mahindra stopped providing telematics support for its EV line-up after a few years of doing so. The company seems determined to squander all the goodwill it acquired when it bought Reva. It’s not surprising that that the downhill slide began after it let go Mr. Chetan Maini, the effing founder of Reva!
Anyway, e-Trio will monitor its retrofitted cars remotely and automatically alert drivers if there’s a problem with the car. The software will also collect data on driving and charging patterns and analyse the data to help the company keep improving its technology. No word yet on whether the company will have its own app for users to remotely lock/unlock the car, turn the AC on/off, and other cool stuff, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed. After all, a true EV is a computer on wheels! The technology aspect is a big draw for many potential buyers, and no company can afford to ignore it. It’s the reason why Tesla’s cars are outselling General Motors’ Chevy Bolt, an ostensibly good EV.
Mr. Nitish Bhandari, the COO informed us that the company will be opening franchises in Tier 1 cities in India, which means you no longer need to take your car to Hyderabad for a conversion. Just take it to your nearest franchisee, pay up, and in about a week you’ll drive out with your old/new EV!
Overall, we were incredibly impressed with the work e-Trio is doing, and I certainly hope that retrofitting will become a dominant trend in the EV world. A future where you can drive any ICE car – not just a Maruti – into an e-Trio branch; choose your preferred range and other EV features; and drive out with an ARAI-certified, connected EV is one I want to be a part of. Thanks e-Trio for this opportunity, and we can’t wait to bring you more news from this exciting company!