The REVAi, known as G-Wiz in the UK, was a small micro electric car, made by the Indian manufacturer REVA Electric Car Company since 2001. The REVA sold about 4,600 vehicles worldwide by late 2013 and was available in 26 countries. Sales in the UK, its main market, ended by late 2011. Production ended in 2012 and was replaced by the Mahindra e2o.
In many countries the Revai does not meet the criteria to qualify as a highway-capable motor vehicle, and fits into other classes, such as neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) in the United States and heavy quadricycle in Europe.
The vehicle was originally known as simply the REVA, but was then improved and renamed the REVAi. Taken together, the original and current models made the best selling electric vehicle in the world until late 2009.
The REVAi is a small 3-door hatchback measuring 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in) long, 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in) wide and 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) high. The car can accommodate two adults in the front and two children in the rear. The back seats can fold down to provide cargo space. The maximum passenger and cargo weight is 270 kg (600 lb).
The REVAi is intended for city trips and commuting, particularly in congested traffic. It is registered in Europe as a heavy quadricycle (category L7). It may be exported to the USA with a speed limiter that limits the speed to 25 miles per hour for use as a neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV).
The first model, produced from 2001 to 2007, was simply called REVA (G-Wiz in the UK). Its power flowed through a 400 amp motor controller to a DC motor rated at 4.8 kW (6.4 hp), with a maximum of 13.1 kW (17.6 hp). Power came from eight 6 V, 200 A h, lead–acid batteries located under the front seats and wired in series to create 48 V. This model did not have the strengthened chassis that allows subsequent models to pass a crash test at 40 km/h (25 mph).
In January 2008, a new model was introduced, the REVAi (G-Wiz i in the UK). It has an AC drive system which raises the maximum speed to 80 km/h (50 mph). The power flows through a 350 Amp motor controller to a 3-phase AC motor rated at 13 kW (17 hp) peak. Like the REVA, power comes from eight 6 V, 200 A h lead–acid batteries located under the front seats.
It has a "boost" switch that gives 40% extra torque for improved acceleration and hill climbing and increases the top speed to 80 km/h (50 mph). It weighs 665 kg (1,466 lb), including 270 kg (600 lb) batteries. The nominal range is 80 km (50 mi), but driving fast or using the heater or air conditioner reduces the range. To address the previous safety concerns, and in conjunction with Lotus Engineering, several new safety features have been added, such as front disc brakes, a collapsible steering column, and a much revised and reinforced chassis that has been successfully crash tested at 40 km/h (25 mph) by ARAI in India.
In January 2009, a new model was launched, the REVA L-ion. It is similar to the REVAi but powered by high performance lithium-ion batteries, which reduce the car's curb weight to 565 kg (1,246 lb), offer greater acceleration, reduce charging time to six hours, and extend the nominal range to 120 km (75 mi). The performance of these batteries is also less affected by variations in temperature.
An off-board charging station is available, which requires 3-phase power and gives a 90% charge in one hour. The REVA L-ion will also have a solar panel on the roof for harnessing solar energy.
Comparison of models
|Top speed||50 mph (80 km/h)||50 mph (80 km/h)||50 mph (80 km/h)|
|Range||75 mi (120 km)||50 mi (80 km)||50 mi (80 km)|
|Lotus assisted safety pack||Yes||No||No|
|Upgradeable to lithium-ion batteries||Yes||Yes||No|
|Hill rolling-restraint feature||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Regenerative brakes||First 30%||First 30%||First 30%|
|Front brakes||Disc brakes||Disc brakes||Disc brakes|
|Rear brakes||Drum brakes||Drum brakes||Drum brakes|
Sales and price
The car was available in the following countries: Bhutan, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Japan, Malta, Monaco, Nepal, Norfolk Islands, Norway, Peru, the Philippines, Portugal, Spain, Sri Lanka and the UK.
The different versions of the REVA sold about 4,600 vehicles worldwide by late 2013, and India was its main market, accounting for 55% of global sales, of which, 40% were in the Bangalore province, where Mahindra Reva is based. The UK was one of the leading markets, and the REVA G-Wiz (as it was marketed in the country) was the top selling electric car in Britain for several years, particularly in London.
Pricing in the UK started at approximately GB£9,995 for the standard model The G-Wiz qualifies for exemption from the London congestion charge due to being an electrically propelled vehicle. The REVA was also sold in other European countries, including Spain and Norway. In Costa Rica, the REVAi was launched in March 2009 and is sold for US$13,000. In the Chilean market was sold for US$12,000.
The REVAi was available in the Republic of Ireland at a retail price of €11,500 for the REVA Standard and €17,500 for the better specified REVA Li-Ion.
REVA was sold for ₹ 350,000 (US$7,130) in India and has a "running cost of just 40 paise/km" (40 paise [0.08 US cent]/km), considering the Indian petrol price of US$1.30/liter.
The REVA is exempt from most European crash test rules, because its low weight and power registers it in the European "heavy quadricycle" category instead of the "car" category.
The UK Department for Transport found "serious safety concerns" after crashing a now discontinued G-Wiz at 56 km/h (35 mph) into a deformable barrier on 24 April 2007, which is part of the normal test for production cars. Likewise, a test commissioned by Top Gear Magazine that followed the Euro NCAP crash test specifications found that the occupants would suffer "serious or life-threatening" injuries in a 64 km/h (40 mph) crash.
In 2010, a fatal accident in London occurred between a G-Wiz and a Škoda Octavia, with the driver of the G-Wiz, a top British scientist named Judit Nadal, being killed. The coroner Andrew Walker was quoted as saying about the G-Wiz at the inquest: “What concerns me is that this vehicle was destroyed in this collision in a way that I have not seen a vehicle destroyed before.”
Current REVA i and REVA L-ion models include several new safety features such as front disc brakes, a collapsible steering column, and a much revised and reinforced chassis that has been successfully crash tested in India by ARAI. A 40 km/h (25 mph) frontal crash test video of the new model is available online.
Reception and criticism
The REVAi has been panned by many critics, including criticisms that it is underpowered, unsafe, and ugly. The BBC programme Top Gear has incessantly lambasted the G-Wiz, and even blew it up in one episode.
- City car
- Government incentives for plug-in electric vehicles
- Kei car
- List of modern production plug-in electric vehicles
- List of production battery electric vehicles
- Neighborhood electric vehicle
- Mahindra e2o
- Zero-emissions vehicle