S.K. Maini recounts the journey of the planet’s first commercial green car in his new book

“I wanted to build a technology for the future and decided that an electric car was the best way forward for it,” says S. K. Maini, whose company pioneered the creation of Reva, the world’s first commercially available electric car. Maini has also co-authored a book, Reva EV: India’s Green Gift to the World (Random House, Rs.1,299) with Sandhya Mendonca.

The book chronicles the story of Reva from the inception, ideation and designing to taking it to the world.

The city-based Maini says, “I feel that it is a story of hope, determination and success with some elements of disappointment. The electric car will replace petrol and diesel cars in a couple of decades from now. I am delighted to be part of the company that pioneered the commercial use of these cars, not only in India, but across the world.”

Maini says, “Many friends and family wanted my take on the process that went behind the creation of the Reva. No one imagined that an electric car will be a massive success and run in almost 86 countries. I firmly believe that electric technology is the future of commuting. Petrol and diesel cars will soon be a thing of the past. I felt that a book must be written about the journey of building the first electric car in the world. I dictated most of the events. It took us a year to complete the book. It helped that I was part of the entire project from the start. We also involved people and organizations that played a vital part in the creation of the car.”

Talking about his journey, Maini contends, “When I floated the idea, I was laughed at. Everybody said it was unique project, but were not confident about its commercial viability of the project. We were a small company and most people thought that we would be crushed by giants like General Motors and Ford.”

Maini and his firm wanted to build a product that was fairly indigenous. “I wanted to ensure that people will get a new technology that was completely Indian. Government support was unfortunately not forthcoming. However, Reva models were ordered by Kapil Sibal and Sheila Dikshit enhancing the popularity of the car in the market.”

Is there any reason for the cars to smaller than most regular cars. “We are developing a bigger car. I feel that most people in India use cars to commute within the city, so smaller cars are the best bet. It ensures that more cars can enter the roads and traffic snarls are reduced, ensuring lesser time spent on commutes and less pollution. In the long run, when these cars are manufactured on a large scale, the cost will also come down as it uses lesser parts and has a smaller engine.”

What does the future hold for the Reva? “We have tied up with Mahindra. Though government subsidies are hard to come by, I am confident that we have managed to build the car of the future.”