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September 24, 2009

INDIA: GM and EV maker join forces

General Motors India and Reva Electric Car Company on Thursday said they had signed an agreement to cooperate on developing EVs for sale in India.

General Motors India and Reva Electric Car Company on Thursday said they had signed an agreement to cooperate on developing EVs for sale in India.

The two automakers jointly will develop platforms, EV technology and control systems. Goal: “to create and launch an affordable small car for domestic consumers”, they said in a statement.

“We are pleased to be joining hands with Reva, a leader in the development of electric drivetrains and control systems,” said GM India president and managing director Karl Slym.

“We will also work closely with the government of India, which has expressed a goal of reducing fossil fuel dependence, in the development of an electric vehicle infrastructure. We look forward to giving our customers a new choice of environmentally friendly products.”

The feasibility of GM’s small vehicle platforms underpinning the EVs electric technology is being considered. The pair said they would announce more details soon and begin production next year.

Chetan Maini, deputy chairman and chief technology officer of Reva, said: “We are extremely happy that we have found a partner in GM India that shares our passion for reducing carbon emissions. Reva and GM India will leverage our companies’ strengths to help make India a global hub for the development and manufacture of electric vehicles and related technologies. Our unique collaboration has the potential to result in far-reaching changes for the industry.”

“Development of small electric vehicles is a growth area for the automotive industry. We expect cooperation with Reva in India to accelerate GM’s progress to meet the emerging needs in many parts of the world,” said Nick Reilly, GM’s president of international operations.

GM’s own ‘range extender’ hybrid, the Chevrolet Volt, is scheduled to start production in the US in late 2010 as a 2011 model. It will travel up to 40 miles (64km) on electricity from a single battery charge and be able to extend its overall range to more than 300 miles (483km) with its flex fuel-powered engine-generator.

The Volt uses grid electricity as its primary source of energy to propel the car and a European version called the Opel Ampera is also planned.

Reva is based in Bangalore and over 14 years of experience in electric vehicle research and development. It claims to have been the first company to commercialise electric cars and now sells or test markets its products in 24 countries in Asia, Europe and Latin America.

So far, 3,000 of its vehicles are on the road and and have clocked up over 43m miles (70m km).

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