As the oil prices continue to move up, the cost escalation in commuting charges is also on the rise. But the electric car introduced in Kerala a few years ago and relaunched five months ago, has not made a major impact on the transport scene in the State. The electric two-wheeler industry is also unhappy with the response received from the people in the State.

The limited seating capacity as well as the price of the vehicle available in the market could have been dissuading factors for prospective buyers, says Karthik, Product Head, Kerala, of Mahindra Reva, the electric vehicle available in the State. He is hopeful that a new model to be launched within a few months, may provide a better alternative and the situation could change for the better.

At present, the product is being primarily targeted at women and professionals such as doctors.

The electric car has gained much acceptance in Bangalore where it was marketed much earlier. Better condition of roads could be an advantage there, according to him. The electric car is being marketed conceptually in Kerala now.

It is bought by most people as a second vehicle in States such as Karnataka. The trend is expected to catch up in Kerala too.

Ten vehicles have been sold during the last four months in Kochi, according to Swapna, marketing executive of the company. People seem to be not so keen in comparing the operational cost advantage as the electric vehicle can be powered by a mere 9 units of electricity for a drive of about 80 km. It takes about 8 hours to charge the vehicle fully. About two-and-a-half hours' charge is enough for a drive of about 50 km, according to the marketing representative.

As against a petrol car, the electric car can halve the commuting costs for the month.

The fully automatic car without clutch or gears is credited with zero emission. Even at top speed, the highly manoeuvrable car makes no more than a barely audible hum.

With a turning radius of just 3.5 metres, the driver can carve his or her way through city traffic easily and park it with little effort.

It will be ideal for those who are uncomfortable with wrestling with gears, the company representatives said. Innovations in the product could make it comparable to the cars run on petroleum fuel. The carrying capacity as well as the pulling power would improve subsequently.

At present, the product is being primarily targeted at women and professionals such as doctors.

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