GM India is planning to showcase the electric version of the Beat small car in April 2011.
However, don’t expect the Beat Electric Vehicle (Beat EV) to be launched till end 2012 or early 2013. GM had earlier said that it would need at least 2 years for developing a feasible, cost-effective, electric powertrain technology.
There isn’t much that we can tell at the moment since the Chevrolet Beat electric variant is still in the concept stage. However, it is believed that Beat EV may feature the same electric motor that’s on the Chevrolet e-Spark concept, which was first showcased at the 2010 Delhi Auto Expo. At that time, many believed that the e-Spark could be launched in India as early as October 2010 at a price of around Rs. 7 lakh. Of course, that never happened.
The Chevrolet Beat EV will likely be powered by a lead acid or lithium ion battery and have a range of 100 km per charge. GM may price the electric car at around Rs. 7 lakh, the same amount that it had intended to price the e-Spark at. If the company is targeting a 2-12-2013 launch, there is a chance that we might be able to see the Beat EV at Auto Expo 2012.
It must be noted that the Chevrolet Beat is sold as the next-generation Chevrolet Spark in various car markets by GM. Hence, the Beat EV could also be exported to these markets (especially Asian ones) from India. Also read: Electric cars in India
The Beat EV would take on arch rival Mahindra Reva NXR, which will be launched sometime later this year. The Reva NXR is a four-seater, three-door electric car that will likely be powered by a lead acid battery, and have a range of 80 km per charge and top speed of 80 kmph. But Mahindra has the marketing muscle to price the NXR at around Rs. 5 lakh, which may pose a few problems for the Chevrolet Beat EV. Related: Electric scooters in India
It’s public knowledge that GM had originally planned to develop its electric car in partnership with Reva. However, it pulled out of the tie-up after Mahindra acquired a majority stake in Reva in May 2010. The Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles (MREV) company went on to sell the REVAi, a 2-seater, all-electric car in the country. Meanwhile, GM India decided to rely on electric powertrain technology from its parent (General Motors USA) to go ahead with its electric car project in India.
Sales of electric car, Mahindra Revai and two-wheelers (such as Hero Electric) in India have gone up after the Indian government announced subsidies ranging from Rs. 4,000 to Rs 1 lakh on environmental-friendly vehicles in November 2010. This may just give GM India the impetus to hasten its electric car launch in the country. Read related: Indian government subsidy on electric vehicles pushes up sales