Mahindra Buys Out REVA, GM Takes EV Spark Development In-House

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
mahindra buys out reva gm takes ev spark development in house

GM’s plan to develop an electric version of its (previous-generation) Chevrolet Spark city car for developing markets had been dependent on a joint development deal with REVA, the Indian firm responsible for such vehicles as the REVAi (known to Brits and Top Gear fans as the G-Whiz). But with the AP [via BusinessWeek] reporting that Mahindra & Mahindra has bought a 55 percent stake in REVA, GM’s deal to use REVA’s technology in its Daewoo-developed hatchback appears to be off. GM had already scaled back its cooperation with REVA, delaying the planned release of the Spark EV and focusing on fleet testing the car. But, says GM India President Karl Slym

Now we’ve stopped the test fleet as well. We were doing it purely as something to learn. Now there’s no real benefit to that. We may as well stay with the GM solutions.

Hardly the most ringing endorsement. And having taken a majority stake in REVA, it seems that Mahindra is starting out on a tentative note as well. The NYT’s Dealbook notes that Mahindra is delaying the release of REVA’s NXR until next year so that, in the words of Mahindra’s auto boss Pawan Goenka, it can

make sure that its not a compromised vehicle for any customer

Compromise? Developing market electric vehicles? Perish the thought. The new Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicle company will have access to Mahindra’s global sales network, including (in theory) the Global Vehicles US dealer network that will someday start selling Mahindra pickups (again, in theory). And with plans already in place for Bannon Automotive to build REVA NXRs in Syracuse, NY, it’s looking like the comically tiny EVs will almost certainly be zipping around America’s urban centers at some point.

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  • Stroker49 Stroker49 on May 27, 2010

    I drove the Reva around the block in Bangalore some years ago and saw the production. The Reva is a VERY simple electric car, nothing wrong with that. The price is low and compared to other ridiculous prices battery cars it make sense. I suggested for the companys owner that it would be a great idea to limit the speed and sell it in europe as a license free 40 km/h (moped)car. Well, this has not happened yet. What surprice me is that the General has the bad judgement to get involved in this, GM should have plenty of knowledge and experience and can not possibly learn anything form Reva, but maybe common sense. I like the company and the people behind Reva a lot but it is a very basic project.