Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Reva E2O test-drive

Few weeks ago, I test-drove an Mahindra Reva E2O and this is based on a True story... :)
I have been long wishing to get my hands on a EV (Electric Vehicle). I recently had this wish of mine fulfilled, albeit partly...read on.

Quick pointers for those of you who are not aware of Reva:
1) Reva is the only EV completely manufactured in India!
2) Reva was Maini group's flagship vehicle, until Mahindra group acquired them and rechristened it as Mahindra Reva. Details @ their website.

At the very onset, I would like to Thank Reva team for providing me an Reva E2O vehicle to test drive.

Reva E2O
My Reva contact, a very courteous & friendly guy gave me a quick 5-min explanation about the basics, control, etc and I was left in-charge of the test-drive vehicle - an Sunfire Yellow coloured Reva E2O-T2 model.

Here is my take of my experience.
Exteriors: Impressive, well designed with 6 eye catching colour options.
Interiors: Dashboard nicely done in blue light was very informative.
The control-knob to control the infotainment dashboard needs a bit of getting used to(the wear & tear of usage reflect on its responsiveness).
I didn't use the Bluetooth & SatNav options. Hence I wouldn't comment on those.
Look-and-feel is decent, but for its cost (more on this later) the finish & quality needs a bit more premium feel.
Pick up: Very good; I was particularly impressed by its pulling power.
Handling: Shock-absorbers were a bit stiff and given the uneven/unfinished (Indian) road, shocks were directly felt by the riders. This was more so for the back-seat riders. Definitely one of its low points.
Cost: With an 7.81L on-road (Bangalore) price, the cost is Prohibitive! According to me, Mahindra should have priced it a bit lower to entice more takers.
Seating: Spacious for 4 adults.
Mileage: Impressive 100 Kms/charge claimed, which I agree since I did manage to get 94KMs (with some charge remaining) from my test-drive vehicle.
Charging: A charm to fully charge in less than 4 hrs, one of its biggest asset.
Power Steering: Absent.
Driving: With automatic steering and only 2 (accelerator & brake) pedals to manage, its a dream-come-true for the typical urban stop-and-go type of driving. Ladies and aged drivers should also find their calling with this type of driving. I liked it all the more given the fact, I've always been a vocal proponent of automatic vehicles in urban driving conditions.

In conversation:
Before going down this road of owning an EV, I tried to understand the mindset of what people around me thought about it. Obviously there were 2 set of people.

As was expected this set of people were not aware of such an alternative mode of transport, let alone an pure Indian offering in that.
Few skeptics argued about electricity not being really being an clean alternative, given the fact that most of the electricity plants in India are coal-based. My answer to them was, despite electricity source being coal based, Reva had ZERO emission...no air pollutants. Isn't that a positive step in the right direction? Also in the near future, India is going to use nuclear fuel for electricity generation - comparatively better I say(leaving the nuclear safety discussion for another day & time).
As part of their expansion plan for Reva, Mahindra also plans to use solar energy for their soon-to-be launched recharging station network. Now that would be another feather on their cap...and also a good use of one thing we've ample & free in India - sunlight :)
Another point against Reva was the limitation it "imposed" for owners not being able to travel beyond 100KMs/charge. This definitely was true and as mentioned above Mahindra is planning to create and extend its recharging network. So for now Reva owners will need to plan their travel more meticulously than their fossil-fuel based peers.
On knowing the cost of the vehicle, some voraciously argued how comparatively they can go for "better & bigger" non-EVs. I rest my case!

These are Reva aware people.
Given the escalating fuel prices, they were receptive to the idea of change.
Another enabling factor was the thought of holding an higher moral ground (regarding emissions) appealed to them too ;)
Their biggest discouragement or let down was undoubtedly the cost factor.
Way forward:
Mahindra needs to boost their support offering, specially their charging network(which I understand they are working on to expand). This should translate in more sales & see more traction in terms of a bigger user-base.
IMHO Mahindra should also advertise & brand Reva more aggressively and also re-look at their price factor to sweeten their deal.

Overall I'm impressed by the offering but as mentioned above price is prohibitive.
Adding on to this misery is the fact that no govt tax subsidies exist for owning an EV, would-be owners need to give it a definite & serious thought.

Back to me, owning an Reva E2O is on hold (for now).
Alternatively though I've decided to pick-up an 2nd hand Reva-i (look-out for my post if I get one ;).

On a parting note:- Drive Safe. Don't Honk. Use low beam at night. Go Green!


Disclaimer: This is NOT a paid post and I don't own this vehicle...yet ;)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

My in-house composting PART-2

Continuing from my earlier post on this topic(PART-1), I harvested my 2nd load of 'black gold'. This time a neat ~1.3 KGs! I used some of it for in-house gardening most of it lying around...mulling what to do of it.

Some pleasant surprise sprung up on my in-house gardening front too. Seeds in my pots started germinating & flowering plants which were later classified as Green Chilies, Capsicum, Rose(brought from a nursery) and well TBH I don't know what the other plant is...waiting for the fruit/vegetable to sprout :)! Take a look at some of the pics I've shared below for reference.

I've 'planted' (thrown in rather than discard it in my wet waste) few pumpkin seeds and I've creeper crawling off that pot! I know its too early to celebrate & expect fruits (or aptly vegetables in this case ;) but the best feeling in this entire exercise for me is to see these seeds germinate and plants growing off it...all by themselves.

Wishfully I hope everyone understands the importance of SWM(Solid Waste Management) and try to implement it at their respective places. Evidently as you would have noticed by now, enthusiastic souls like me, can also graduate to trying their hands at in-house gardening...a naturally extension of your SWM effort.

With such meaningful resolution & my wishful outlook I once again pin my hopes on you to spread the word, walk the talk and get involved in making our community a better place to live in. Go Green!

Home Grown Spinach
Nursery @ Garden


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Terror + ADD = India

India has always been an peace loving nation which is evident looking at its history. In other words, it has never invaded any country for occupation, but that has not deterred invaders from invading and occupying India. Over numerous centuries India has enticed it's invaders with its offering - spices & precious stones among others.

Despite being occupied for centuries by foreign invaders, India has never looked at violence/armed resistance as a sustainable solution. But this has also developed an nation full of overly tolerant set of people who are immune to the tendency of natural forces of resistance. Putting up with whatever situation seems to come naturally to them...be it foreign invaders or corruption around them!

Reflecting on the past few decades, the numerous periodic terror attacks in India, is an apt reflection of callous inept governance, inadequate and ill-managed security measures to check such re-occurrences and the indifferent attitudes of the ruling govt in ensuring such dastardly attacks don't repeat. The case in discussion is the recent Hyderabad bomb attack (Read article here) which is a grim reminder of the dangers of misplaced fanatic religious sentiments prevailing in India. India has bore the brunt of numerous violent attacks on its soil which are mostly either sponsored or fanned from across the border by Pakistan. This in no way lets our internal security apparatus off the hook for not being able to sense or prevent such events. While the entire country has moved on to other "important" stories, thanks to the nation's watch dog @ media houses; we've once again proven to be a nation severely affected by ADD(Attention Deficit Disorder).

Terror + ADD = India

Isn't it an potent concoction for any nation, let alone India, to have ADD when Terror is concerned! We as a nation need to stand up for our rights and demand a decent & humane living.

Are we ready to demand answers from our leaders, who are elected by us to safe guard our interests and most importantly our lives?

Time to set our demands straight and push for answers. Electoral reforms is one of the key and most important tool which we can make use of. I'll soon be posting my take on this...stayed tuned!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

No Smoking!

Tobacco consumption in one form or other has always been cited as the major cause of Cancer. Cancer @ (the Big) C - is one of the most potent reasons for tobacco related deaths across the globe. Yet of all the means of tobacco consumption, Smoking has time and again been the most visible & hated!

Did you know?
* For every smoker there are 40 non-smokers who are affected!
* Secondary smoke is more dangerous than primary smoke...meaning indirectly you are the agent of death of many innocent lives!
* Every cigarette stick takes away 5 mins of your wonderful life.
* Recently  researchers also attribute smoking as an possible reason for reproductive disorders(Ouch! A classic below the belt hit).
* $9.94B is spends annually on advertisements and promos...that is $27M per day! (P.S: I find that figure ridiculously huge to be wasted in this manner...but then that is just me talking). A figure like that in perspective should tell a lot about the kind of money there is to be made from this 'madness' if I may.

 Merchants of death!
It is estimated by the year 2018 that figure would have risen to 8 million per year!

So in the interest of everyone's  health, I urge all smokers to refrain from this dreaded habit and to give the above stated facts a well intentional thought before lighting up the next one. But if these facts don't startle you, then please remember that every time you light up next, its akin to sending out a red carpet invitation to Yamaraja!

Sorry to rub it into you, but I don't see it any other way. Hope better sense prevails upon you.

P.S: These facts can be easily verified by doing a quick Google (re)search.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Dirty Business?!

Bangalore isn't different from any growing Indian cosmopolitan city. It has all the making of one. Ill-equipped infrastructure, chaotic transportation, ever increasing human population, over used & over stretched "colonial"drainage system, garbage strewn alleys, polluted water bodies and to top it all up an indifferent human attitude to match it! That's painting the real urban settlement for you.

Garbage has been the bane of urban living ever since people living in cities started being indifferent to it. The callous attitude adopted by the city administration only added to their belief. The easy and lazy way to deal with this ever growing monster-of-garbage was dealt with by dumping it in the villages on the outskirts of our cities. Manddurr is one such place where garbage generated from Bangalore is dumped. Solid Waste Mangement (SWM) was an recent approach adopted (or rather enforced) on all without having any meaningful & well-thought plans to really make it work. Result was an as abrupt ceasing of this initiative as abruptly as it was started! I took this govt directive as a way to try my hand at this wonderful concept of SWM to try reduce my garbage footprint(if there is anything like that). In my 10+ months of implementation, I'm throughly convinced about the effectiveness of this concept. I've not put out a single (I repeat NOT a SINGLE) basket of green waste from my home for collection! Details here.

Recently I "harvested" my 2nd load of "Black Gold" as I like to call it. A neat ~700 gms of it. I intend to sell it and monetize it...obviously not to make a living out of it, but to break even and cover my operational cost, in this new venture of mine ;) I also wish this motivates others to start looking at dealing with SWM and help reduce their garbage foot-print. I'm sure this would get lot of people interested in this and I believe some number crunches are already at it...calculating how much money I would make out of it...with this kind of sustained "output".  Imagine for a moment here, I making a profit and being able to sustain part of my lifestyle on the profits made from this! Then I would be referred to as a businessman...a man making money from The Dirty Business?!