India has become one of the largest automobile markets in the world over the years. However, during the initial days, a lot of manufacturers including the international ones and the homegrown Indians worked to launch a slew of new cars. While there a few foreign manufacturers that launched in India and later packed their bags, there were quite a few handfuls of Indian manufacturers that tried and failed. Here is one such Indian manufacturer that launched India’s first electric vehicle – the Lovebird.
Eddy Electric series launched the Lovebird way back in 1993. The vehicle was showcased at the Auto Expo in Delhi and also received a few awards at the event. The Indian government also gave a green signal to the car. However, due to the low sales, the manufacturer shut its shop in India.
Built by Eddy Current Controls (India) Ltd in collaboration with Yaskawa Electric Mfg. Co. from Tokyo, Japan. The car was built in the Chalakudy, Kerala and Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. The two-seater Lovebird offered direct current electric motor powered by a rechargeable portable battery. Since the battery packs were not as advanced back then, a lead-acid battery pack was used. The exact number of the cells is not known and there is no information on the power of the battery too. It also came with electronic chopper control that provided a smooth speed control system to the driver.
The car also came with a transmission. It had a four-speed with reverse gear to provide the maximum efficiency. According to the details, the Lovebird could travel 60 km on a single charge. The manufacturer aimed to target customers who solely want cars for city usage. There was no fast-charging system back then and the battery pack took about 8 hours to charge completely. The electric car also had other restrictions including a grade limit of 15 degrees. It means that the car could not climb steep inclines if needed. However, back then, there were almost no steep flyovers to challenge the car.
Why was it discontinued?
The sale of the Lovebird never crossed three-digit figure back then. Also, the success of the electric cars at present is not a secret to anyone and we all know how the buyers stay away from the EVs. Back then, power outage, proper electricity supply and other factors must have caused this vehicle to sink. The government had also stopped the subsidy to the car buyers, which made it very expensive too.
Apart from this electric vehicle, there are many other Indian manufacturers like Sipani, Kazah, Aravind, and Meera. There were quite a few roadblocks to launch a new car and post the Maruti Suzuki 800 era, the Indian market changed completely.
Electric cars in India
After the launch of the Reva in the Indian market, the electric car bandwagon got some steam. However, the journey of the Reva did not last very long. It was acquired by Mahindra and the E2O was launched. At present, Tata, MG and Hyundai offer electric SUVs in the market. However, there are a few electric cars that will launch in 2021 and in the coming years.